(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- A possible tragedy was averted on Wednesday morning thanks to the quick thinking of a Sikeston man.
Jimmy Gipson rescued a 2-year-old child from a burning semi-truck outside the former Essex building Tuesday morning, as he arrived to make preparations for a new business moving in later this month.
"The truck was at the dock and I saw that it was on fire when I was pulling into the lot," said Gipson. "I was running inside to tell them the truck was on fire and I saw him out of the corner of my eye -- there was a little boy trying to get out of the truck."
Gipson said that's when he stopped thinking and started to react, pulling the boy from the truck minutes before it burst into flames. "It all happened so fast, I couldn't tell you what happened," he said.
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His father, Alan D. Cart, is an over-the-road driver from French Trucking in Tennessee and was delivering items for the new Philips Products plant. According to Sgt. Bill Mygatt of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety, the boy was reportedly asleep in the sleeper of the truck when his dad went inside the building.
Chief Drew Juden, director of DPS, praised Gipson for his quick thinking and noted that although the child could have likely gotten the door of the truck open by himself, he still could have fallen and gotten hurt.
"I think there's no doubt that a serious tragedy was averted by the fact that Jimmy saw the child in the truck and then rescued the child," said Juden. "I think he should be commended for his quick thinking and commitment to get involved."
Gipson, who said "I'm no hero," added that he has never had any emergency training and was purely relying on instinct during the rescue.
Mygatt said DPS firefighters were called to the scene at 8:31 a.m. and remained until 9:41. Gipson had already rescued the youngster by the time they arrived.
The cause of the fire appears to be electrical, Mygatt said.