All in a day's work: Good samaritan helps man in trouble
CLAREMONT — A small change in the usual trash pickup service on Tuesday may have saved a life. It’s a case of perfect timing and the exercise of sharp judgement — a moment that reminded DeCamp Trucking owner Travis DeCamp that “everything happens for a reason.”
On Tuesday, DeCamp Trucking employee George Nutting set out on his usual roadside pickup route. But at one particular stop, he said, he pulled into a customer’s driveway to fulfill a special request to remove some stuff from the customer’s porch. As Nutting was loading everything into his truck, he heard a yell for help coming from the house and managed to get inside, where a man had been stuck for hours.
“He had fallen out of his wheelchair in the early morning hours and couldn't get himself back up,” Nutting wrote during an online interview. “There wasn't any hesitation, I could see inside through a door knob hole and could see him lying on the floor in need of help. When I went in I was gonna do whatever I could to get him back in his chair.”
The customer had been stuck on the floor near his bed in distress since 5 a.m., and in helping the man — Nutting’s actions at this point would have been commendable on their own — the story escalated quickly after Nutting noticed the smell of smoke.
“As I was talking to him I smelled smoke and realized something had caught fire while I had gotten there,” Nutting said.
Under the bed, something had caught fire, so Nutting moved the man away from the bed and got some water to douse the flames. But after the fire flared up, Nutting said, he realized that it was electrical in origin. Nutting then moved the man towards the door of the room.
”I went back over and flipped the mattress and box spring up, which actually caused the box spring to go out,” Nutting said. “That's when I saw a small space heater that had apparently shorted out burning on the floor. I grabbed the heater and threw it outside.”
The bottom of the box spring had apparently been burned by the shorting heater also. With the heater unplugged and sitting in the yard, Nutting said he doused it in more water to extinguish the flames before returning to the house to assist the man back into his wheelchair and turn on a fan to help clear the smoke from the house.
“I made sure he was ok,” Nutting said. “We chatted for a few minutes and then I went on my way.”
Social media attention for Nutting’s story spiked immediately after DeCamp posted it online. A quick scroll through the comments reveals a community of people thankful for Nutting’s quick thinking in a time of need. But to hear Nutting say it, he doesn’t see himself as a hero of any sort. He was just doing what anyone would have if placed in his position.
Still, DeCamp, who also worked as a paramedic, said that Nutting’s actions were well-executed and likely prevented the dangerous situation from escalating further.
“Everything just kind of lined up just the right way. Another five or 10 minutes and it could have gone the other way,” DeCamp said. “I’m proud to know that he was conscientious enough to be aware of what to do.”
After saving the man and possibly preventing a house fire, Nutting finished the remaining stops on trash collection route.