CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Four Campbellsville firefighters were injured Thursday when a fire truck’s aerial ladder came too close to a main power line at Campbellsville University.
Michael Carter, Campbellsville University president, said the firefighters were at one of the campus athletic fields spraying the marching band with water for an ALS "ice bucket challenge" when the accident happened.
"[It] appears energy arced over and ladder didn't actually hit lines. If you get within certain radius that can happen," officials said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Two of the firefighters, 41-year-old Tony Grider and 22-year-old Simon Quinn, were airlifted to University of Louisville Hospital. Grider, a 16-year veteran of the department, was listed in critical condition and Quinn, a part-time firefighter, was upgraded from serious to fair condition. Both are being treated at the University of Louisville Medical Center Burn Unit.
The other two injured, Steve Marrs and Alex Johnson, were transported to Taylor Regional Hospital. Marrs, 37, has been with the department for 11 years, and Johnson, 28, has been there three years.
A prayer vigil was held at Stapp Lawn on campus Thursday evening. Campbellsville residents joined students and staff to pray for the firefighters.
“This whole town is like a huge family,” Julie Smith, a junior at Campbellsville University, said. “It’s amazing. It’s the feeling, the vibe that you get from everybody here. We are just a huge family.”
That is how Thursday started; one piece of the family helping another.
“We’re a close knit community here,” Campbellsville mayor Tony Young said. “We care about each other. We are always doing trying to do whatever we can to assist the other. That is what we were trying to do today.”
Smith said her electricity went out in her apartment and she knew something wasn’t quite right. She came to campus and saw the band students shocked, saddened and trying to process what had happened.
“After talking with them and just seeing how tore up they were about it – no one should ever experience something like that, that kind of tragedy,” she said. “We just came up with the idea of coming together as a community, coming together as a campus and just a family of Christ.”
Smith said she sent a text message to a few friends, and that one message turned into hundreds of people gathering on the campus hoping and praying for the firefighters.
“Everybody knows about it but it’s hard to talk about it because you know the emotion and the feelings of these band students who witnessed it, the families,” Smith said. “You know everybody is connected in this town. A lot of love has been given to everybody just making sure everybody is okay and nobody is alone.”