A community effort: Shippensburg man rescued from burning SUV

The rescue of a Shippensburg man from a burning SUV in Fannett Township Tuesday was a community effort, according to Wesley Warner.

Shippensburg
Wesley Warren and Trisha McMullen

The Doylesburg man and his girlfriend, Trisha McMullen, were on their way to get something to eat after work when they came upon the 5:30 p.m. crash on Cold Spring Road just off of Forge Hill and Timmons Road that day.

“We saw what looked like really thick fog,” Warner said.

McMullen saw a fire and pulled their vehicle off on the opposite side of the road. Then she started flagging people down. Warner crossed the road to get a closer look in an effort to determine what was happening.

An SUV driven by 84-year-old Benjamin Keck had crash into several trees and then rolled down an embankment, police said. Keck was trapped inside.

Warner was still taking stock of the situation when the SUV caught on fire a few minutes later.

By then McMullen had caught the attention of several other motorists who stopped to help; including a nurse and her son.

“So we made the decision to pull him out,” Warner said of the trapped and injured Keck.

READ: Crash victim airlifted from scene: Local man credited with rescue

Rescue was a community effort

The community of would-be rescuers managed to free Keck; and moved him about 10 feet away from the SUV before a Letterkenny Army Depot employee stopped to help. Between them, the rescuers managed to safely move Keck to the road. There they waited for the Fannett-Metal Fire Company’s first responders.

The car was completely engulfed in flames at that point, Warner said. He and other had gone back to the car to make sure no one else was trapped inside; then they waited at a distance for first responders to arrive

A truck hauling water stopped and tried to extinguish the flames engulfing the SUV; but Warner said unfortunately their pump didn’t reach.

“It was a community effort to make sure everyone was okay,” Warner said. He refused to take all the credit for Keck’s rescue.

Keck was airlifted by Life Lion air medical helicopter to Holy Spirit Medical Center in Camp Hill. A condition report was not available over the weekend. Warner said he heard he was doing well, however.

He said his and McMullen’s knew of Keck, although he didn’t know him personally. Keck had at one time owned property in Fannettsburg, he said.

Fannett Township is located in the Path Valley area along the Tuscarora Mountain in the north west corner of Franklin County. The area is rural and served by Pennsylvania State Police headquartered across the county near Scotland, and two rural fire departments, Fannett-Metal Fire and Ambulance Co. and Metal Township Fire Department.

The crash happened in Fannett-Metal’s first due area.

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