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Todd's Lifesaving Award

 

Mansfield man's bravery rewarded after fiery crash
By JAMI KINTON

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP -- The bravery and quick-thinking of a Mansfield man earned him the first Civilian Lifesaving Award presented by Washington Township Fire Chief Dave Compton in his 15-year tenure.

On May 25, Todd Steffen, 32, said he was getting ready for bed when he heard a crash outside his Possum Run Road home.

In the nearby woods, Steffen said, he saw the headlights from a vehicle.

While attempting to find the driver, he heard screaming from a burning truck slightly down the hill.

"This truck was completely launched sideways," he said. "When I looked inside the truck, I hollered at (my girlfriend, Michelle Glasgo) to bring me my pocket knife."

Steffen then cut both passengers free and dragged them down to the ditch away from the vehicle.

"By the time I got there, their truck was already three-quarters on fire," he said.

Glasgo, a former emergency medical technician, called 9-1-1 and cared for the couple until help arrived.

Compton said the incident was a head-on collision between two vehicles.

"When we arrived, the truck was completely engulfed in flames," he said. "It's safe to say that if Todd hadn't been there, these two people would have died. He basically put himself in harm's way and saved two people he had no connection to."

After discussing the incident with the department, Compton said they decided to present the award to Steffen at the department's annual Christmas party.

"We just felt that his actions were extraordinary and heroic," Compton said.

Kyle Penhorwood, 18, was one of the passengers from the burning truck.

"I think it's great that he helped us," the Mansfield teen said. "It was something he didn't have to do, and he did."

"I'm really proud of him," Glasgo said, looking fondly at her boyfriend. "He's the level-headed one."

"This really awoke me to what you guys do on a daily basis," Steffen said, after receiving a plaque. "When you go through something like this, it really makes you appreciate the work of firefighters."

Other awards presented went to Jaime Lucas, as firefighter of the year. Diane Hammett was honored as EMT of the year.

Five-year awards went to Lucas, Kelli Collinsworth and Laurie and Joe Tadijanac. Fifteen-year awards went to Dave Compton and John Lapeer, and Ted Keppler received a clock for 40 years of service.

jkinton@nncogannett.com 419-521-7220