On Feb. 21, 1988, a little over 31 years ago, Somervell County Fire Chief Mark Crawford was severely burned while fighting a large grass fire.
Crawford took to Facebook on Feb. 21 to publicly speak about the event.
Only 18 years old at the time, Crawford and two other firefighters, Randal Goodwin and James Salzman, were fighting a grass fire that was caused by a downed 69,000-volt powerline, which they didn’t know about.
Crawford was rescued by Assistant Chief Jim Flynn, who burned his hands while dragging Crawford out of the fire and putting out the fire on his chest.
He was flown to Parkland Hospital where he spent almost five months in the intensive burn ward.
“I had 37 percent third-degree burns and had over a dozen surgeries including one that was the first of its kind that took over 13 hours to perform by a team of surgeons,” he said.
Doctors told his parents that he most likely would not survive and sent his pastor, Gloria Gillaspie, to the ER where she sprinkled him with water to baptize him.
Goodwin ended up having to get both of his legs amputated and Salzman was flown to Fort Worth and then to Dallas that evening.
“I was the only one able to return to the job as a firefighter out of the three [of us],” Crawford said.
Before becoming fire chief for Somervell County, Crawford began his career with the Burleson Fire Department. He has now been a fire chief for 15 years and his son is following in his footsteps.
“I’m proud to say that now my son, Trevor, is a fourth generation Burleson firefighter and serves here as a volunteer,” he said.
“Triumphantly, we all lived to tell about the miracles to follow,” Crawford wrote in his post on Facebook.