INDOT’s Randy Fultz has been recognized as a hero for putting his life at risk during a daring fire rescue attempt. Fultz bravely went inside the house four times to search for a man, who perished in the fire.
“It takes a special person to go inside a burning house and that’s with all the appropriate protection gear,” said Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) State Fire Investigator Joe Tanasovich, who presented Fultz with the State Fire Marshal Medal of Valor for his actions. “Randy was a passerby with no gear. What he did that day impressed not only me, but all the firefighters at the scene.”
Fultz was driving an INDOT vehicle in rural Tippecanoe County when he noticed a woman running out of her front door and black smoke billowing from the house.
Fultz immediately pulled into the driveway of the trilevel house, which featured a garage entrance under the house. He met the woman halfway down the steps from the front door. She had just called 911 and said that her husband was inside the house. Although she wasn’t sure what room he was in, she thought it might be the basement, which was best accessed from the garage.
Fultz pulled the door to the basement open, and a black cloud of smoke hit him in the face. He could see the fire in the garage; one whole back side was engulfed in flames, and the fire was spreading up and across the ceiling.
Fultz retrieved the fire extinguisher from inside his vehicle and got as close as possible to the fire. Despite immense heat, Fultz knocked down the base of the fire and sprayed the garage ceiling with the extinguisher.
After entering the house twice in unsuccessful attempts to locate the man and with his fire extinguisher empty, Fultz located a hose in the yard and dragged it around to the garage to fight the fire. He entered the building twice more but was unable to locate the husband.
Firefighters later arrived and extinguished the blaze. Authorities later identified the victim.
“I did what I could,” Fultz said. “I did what I hope someone would do for me if I were in that situation.”