Sissonville firefighters honored for pipeline explosion rescue - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Sissonville firefighters honored for pipeline explosion rescue

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Sissonville firefighter Drew Foutty and Sue Bonham don't really know each other.  They aren't related, but they have a special bond.  It all stems back to December 11, 2012.

Bonham said, "The earth started trembling and there was just this huge, loud roar."

The pipeline exploded right in front of Bonham's house.  When she realized what was happening she ran outside and waited for rescuers to arrive.

"And that's where I kind of stayed for the next 45 minutes," she said. 

Sissonville Volunteer firefighters arrived on the scene.

Firefighter Drew Foutty said, "Four of us made our way toward her home.  Got down, got access to her backyard through a privacy fence."

Bonham said,  "I really had given up hope.  I thought I was going to be burned alive.  I felt like it was the end for me."

Foutty, Lt. Eddie Elmore, Lt. Chuck Carney, and Firefighter Scott Holmes brought Bonham to safety.

"That was actually the last time I saw her," said Foutty.  

That's until the past weekend.  The firefighters received awards for their bravery. Bonham said she can't find the words to express her gratitude.

"They were the ones who stepped up to the plate and said, I'll go," she said, "I can never in my life let them know how much I appreciate them."

But for Foutty, it's just part of the job.  He said, "We just did what we were supposed to do.  We did what we trained for.  It's what we signed up for.  We get called in to something, it's our job to show up and react to it."

Bonham said she knows something now, that she did not realize before.  "The moral of this story is to live each day like it's your last.  Say your apologies if you feel that's what you need to do.  Always feel that love in your heart if you can.

The awards were given to the firefighters at the West Virginia Fireman's Association Annual Conference at Canaan Valley Resort and Convention Center.

Bonham said she attended the event as a surprise for the firefighters.