Firefighters honored for rescuing kids trapped in flood

- It's been nearly a month since tornadoes tore through parts of Van Zandt County, killing four people and injuring dozens of others.

It's difficult to forget the dramatic rescue caught on video of two young children, who ended up trapped in an overturned truck as their parents tried to escape the storm.

READ MORE: Good Samaritans recall heroic water rescue

Several people jumped in to help that day, including four Terrell volunteer firefighters who weren’t seen in the video.

The volunteer firefighters happened to be in the right place at the right time. They were on their way into hardest hit areas of canton when more bad weather that was pushing through forced them to stop within a few miles of the crash site.

It's a six-minute cell phone video that's difficult to watch. And for the four Terrell volunteer firefighters who lived through it, time — at that moment — seemed to stop.

“My crew did what they needed to do, they were getting the equipment,” said Assistant Fire Chief Terry Van Sickle. “I stepped out, assessed the situation and began CPR.”

Van Sickle says he and his crew were staged just one exit west of 64 in Canton on April 29 when they heard that life-changing dispatch call.

“It put us in just the right spot when we heard Van Zandt County page out the water rescue,” he said.

Good Samaritans, who happened upon the accident, pulled 5-month-old Marshal and 1-year-old Addyson Ocheltree from their parents’ overturned pick-up truck. The siblings were submerged under water.

What is not seen in the video is Van Sickle taking over CPR on little Addyson and giving her oxygen, which is when she seemed to respond.

On Monday morning, the volunteer firefighters were recognized by the Kaufman County Commissioner's Court for their heroic efforts. They were each given a Heartsaver Hero Award.

The accolade was not something they asked for, but Van Sickle says they're grateful.

“So often we see bad outcomes that the child doesn't make it,” he said. “In this case, we had a good outcome. It's a rare thing for us but something I like to see. It makes you feel good. Kind of gives you the energy to keep going.”

Shortly after the children were released from the hospital, the Ocheltrees held a BBQ for the Good Samaritans. The volunteer firefighters were out of town for training and were not able to attend. Van Sickle junior says he's happy to hear the kids are doing well.

READ MORE: Parents thank Good Samaritans who rescued children from flood

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