On December 26, 2004 at approximately 12:30 in the afternoon the North Hampton Fire & Rescue received a report of a 6-car motor vehicle accident on Interstate 95. North Hampton initially responded with Engine 2 and a mutual aid ambulance. Upon arrival Lieutenant Hutchings found two heavily damaged vehicles in the middle of the southbound lane with injured occupants, none serious and a pick-up truck on its roof in about three feet of water slowly sinking. The occupant was unable to escape from the vehicle due to rising waters and damage to the compressed roof and doors. Lt. Hutchings contacted the Hampton Engine just clearing an accident at the tollbooth and asked them to respond to the scene with their manpower to assist. Braving the freezing temperature Lt. Hutchings, Firefighter Stephen Henry, and Hampton Firefighter Michael
Nickerson waded waist high into the frigid water in their firefighting gear to rescue the trapped occupant by using the Jaws of Life to lift the vehicle. Blowing snow, ice and frigid water made the rescue extremely difficult.
For their actions at this incident, the New Hampshire Fire Service Committee of Merit recognized the responding personnel on October 12, 2005. Chief Thomas Lambert, Lt Hutchings, Hampton Lt Bill Kennedy, FF Henry, and Hampton FF Nickerson received a Unit Citation Award. Lt Hutchings, FF Henry and Nickerson also received a Class 2 Medal of Valor.
The unit citation is proudly displayed in the lobby of the North Hampton Fire Station.
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A picture of the truck on its roof after the patient was extricated.
Crews repacking Engine 2 after the incident.
A Firefighter gathering equipment.
Another view of the submerged vehicle.
The vehicle being removed.
Crews from North Hampton and Hampton receive a unit citation award for their life saving actions at a motor vehicle accident on Interstate 95 December 26, 2004. Pictured from left to right: Richard Mason, Director NH Fire Academy; Captain Bill Kennedy, Hampton Fire; Lieutenant Brad Hutchings, North Hampton; Firefighter Michael Nickerson, Hampton Fire; Firefighter Steve Henry, North Hampton; Chief Thomas Lambert, North Hampton; Chief Joseph Kane, Manchester Fire. Lt. Hutchings, FF Henry and FF Nickerson also received a Medal of Valor for their actions.