Andy Graves about ruined my lunch last Thursday when he told us that Russ Hayes had passed away that morning. No, I hadn’t heard about the wreck Wednesday morning. It upset me.
I liked Russ. He was too nice a guy to have something like that happen. I’d sort of bonded with him after what he did for Adrian after her bad wreck. The car Adrian had been driving was on its side with her crumpled under the dash. Russ crawled in the car with her to make sure it didn’t roll back upright. He talked to Adrian to keep her calm.
Later on Thursday, Oct. 4, Assistant Fire Chief Craig Carpenter called to ask if I wanted to come to the fire station when they were to be interviewed by KY3. Karen was going to put it on the news that evening, but the story got bumped to to a later time because of the Cedar County jail break. It was aired Saturday morning. If you missed it, the link is https://www.ky3.com/content/news/El-Dorado-Springs-mourns-the-loss-volunteer-firefighter-495326031.html.
In case you don’t know what happened, Russ was driving the pumper truck, hauling 1,000 gallons of water, to Stockton Lake for the yearly pumper test, a job he had done many times before.
One year when Russ took the truck to the lake, Fire Chief Bob Floyd said, something happened and Stockton Fire Chief Hank Smith was knocked into the water. Russ pulled him out and resuscitated him, Bob said.
Something went horribly wrong Wednesday morning on Hwy. 32 three miles west of Stockton. The Highway Patrol report said the truck went off the road. Russ over-corrected back onto the roadway and crossed the centerline. Overcorrected again this time overturning the truck with its 8,000 lbs. of water on board.
Fire Chief Floyd went to the scene and talked to Russ who apologized for wrecking the truck. Bob, of course, told him not to worry about it. Bob said that Russ appeared to suffer from some broken ribs. Bob thought he would be in the hospital a couple of days then would be back with his family.
Bob said that after he left the scene and later went to the hospital to see Russ, it was apparent that Russ’ injuries were a lot more serious than just broken ribs.
Russ’ condition deteriorated overnight and he passed away the next morning.
He is only the second El Dorado Springs fireman to die in the line of duty. The first was Fire Chief Jess Maslin. Jr., 37, who was killed on Oct. 20, 1940, when the gas tank on a car exploded as he was telling the crowd to get back from the flames.
The El Dorado Springs Volunteer Fire Department was formed on Dec. 5, 1892. KL