The Daily Ardmoreite
Wednesday, December 7, 1977
OFF DUTY AMBULANCE DRIVER CITED
Passer-By Rescues Tot in Fire
By Jill Murray, Ardmoreite Staff Writer
An off-duty ambulance serviceman rescued a 15 month old child from a burning house at 4th and G Street NW Wednesday morning.
“I was just driving by,” said Butch Bridges, who explained he learned of the fire over a police radio in his car. “It was one of those unusual deals.”
When Bridges arrived at the house, the baby’s mother, Pat Eastwood, had escaped with an older child but was unable to enter the smoke-filled back bedroom where the infant had been sleeping.
With the assistance of Wayne Warthen, special investigator for the district attorney, Bridges spotted the baby boy lying on the floor, broke a window, and crawled into the room to reach him. The child was taken to a local hospital where officials reported his condition as good.
Fire Chief Paul Hughes said the blaze probably began about 9:30 a.m. Three units arrived 20 minutes later and quickly doused the flames which caused extensive damage to the living room and kitchen. Firemen drove up just after the baby had been rescued.
Hughes stated the fire began in an armchair which rested against a wall and curtains.
The most likely cause, he said, was that Mrs. Eastwood’s older son had been playing with matches while she was asleep. A matchbox holder was lying on the kitchen floor next to a chair where it had hung on the wall.
William and Pat Eastwood rented the house at 619 4th Ave. NW from Dub Larendon. The damage was estimated at $3,500.
The Daily Oklahoman
Thursday, December 8, 1977
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
OFF-DUTY ATTENDANT PASSING THROUGH
Tot Rescued From Fire
ARDMORE – A 15 month old baby was rescued from a flaming, smoke filled house Wednesday by an off-duty ambulance attendant who was passing through the neighborhood, authorities said.
The child, Joseph Eastwood, was found on the floor of his bedroom by attendant Butch Bridges, who had crawled through a broken window in search of the baby shortly after the fire started about 10 a.m., the authorities said.
The child was taken to Ardmore Adventist Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation and reported in satisfactory condition. The child was transferred to Oklahoma Children’s Memorial Hospital in Oklahoma City.
Bridges, 28, who works with the Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service, said he drove up to the burning house and saw the child’s mother standing outside screaming, “My baby’s still in there!”
Bridges and Wayne Warthen, investigator for the Carter County District Attorney’s Office, who had also just arrived, broke out windows of a side bedroom where the child had been sleeping.
The fire had not reached the child’s room, but the room was filled with smoke, authorities said.
Fire Chief Paul Hughes said the fire, apparently accidently set by an older child who was playing with matches, destroyed the living room section of the home before it was extinguished. The child’s mother, Mrs. W.H. Eastwood, was apparently asleep when the fire broke out, Hughes said.
Bridges, who is the president of the Oklahoma Emergency Medical Technicians Association, said he was on his way to a meeting of the group in Oklahoma City when he passed within two blocks of the house and noticed the fire.
The Daily Ardmoreite
Wednesday, January 18, 1978
By Mac McGalliard
Tribute for Heroism
Butch Bridges, emergency medical technician with the Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service, received an exciting letter. In fact, it was exciting before he opened it, for in the upper left corner of the envelope was “The White House.” You know, you just don’t get one of those every day.
Inside, on White House official stationary, was this letter:
Dear Mr. Bridges: President Carter recently learned of your effective actions in rescuing a 15 month old baby from a burning house. Your quick thinking in an emergency situation undoubtedly saved the life of the young victim, and the President believes that your actions were highly praise-worthy. He asked that we send you the enclosed commendation, along with his warm regards and best wishes. Sincerely, Landon Kite, Staff assistant.”
The President’s commendation, printed on a card which has the President’s Seal at the top and the signature “Jimmy Carter” at the bottom, reads:
“I commend you for your extraordinary performance and the spirit which you demonstrated towards your fellow man. Your action is in the finest American tradition and strengthens us all as we strive to build a better world.”
Congratulations, Butch! It is a tribute well deserved.
P R O C L A M A T I O N
WHEREAS, Butch Bridges, a citizen of the City of Ardmore, Oklahoma, has been recognized by the President of the United States of America, for extraordinary performance demonstrated toward his fellow man in the rescue of a 15-month old baby from a burning house, and;
WHEREAS, Butch Bridges is part of the community service team as an ambulance attendant with the Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RON PRIDDY, Mayor of the City of Ardmore, Oklahoma, do hereby issue this proclamation recognizing Butch Bridges for his extraordinary performance, quick action, and dedication to duty, resulting in saving the life of a 15-month old baby rescued from a burning building.
PASSED AND APPROVED THIS TWENTIETH DAY OF FEBRUARY, IN THE YEAR NINETEEN SEVENTY EIGHT.
Signed: Ron Priddy
Mayor Ron Priddy
Signed: R.B. Hamilton
Attest: R.B. Hamilton, City Clerk