TA Seymour Employees Deemed Heroes for Response to Fire
The quiet night at the TA in Seymour, Indiana, on July 6 quickly became eventful around 2 a.m. The smell of smoke filled the air around the restaurant, catching the attention of the employees. Allen Blann, Charles Epper and Stephen Ritz decided to investigate. They made their way toward the restaurant and looked around with caution. That’s when Charles realized the smoke was coming from the electrical room behind the restaurant. He started to reach for the doorknob, but changed his mind, realizing it was safer to leave the door closed.
Ashley Spurgeon took charge of the situation and began evacuating customers and employees from the area. The team called 911, as well as Truck Service PCM Tyson Davidson and Site GM Sheri Glore, while Ashley continued evacuation efforts. The police and fire department were on scene when Tyson and Sheri arrived. They were happy to find the employees and customers in a safe location away from the burning building. The team had done everything they were supposed to do in emergencies.
Fortunately, everyone was safe thanks to Ashley, Allen, Charles, Stephen and the other employees. Unfortunately, the site was shut down due to the damage. Some employees helped out at the nearby Petro Greensburg and TA Whitestown while the site was down, and over two weeks, Shop employees helped paint and clean up the site. While the TA Seymour is not quite back to business-as-usual, with the help of the employees, the site was able to reopen the diesel and gasoline lanes, Truck Service and a small, make-shift convenience store by Aug. 10.
A fire and insurance investigator watched the recordings of the unfolding situations. He praised the team for doing so well. He mentioned Charles and his decision to keep the door closed, saying, “His decision to not open that door may have saved his own life and potentially prevented further damage and harm to property and others. Had the door been opened, it is likely oxygen would have immediately fed the fire, and it could have spread swiftly. The best [thing] he could have done in that situation is exactly what he did.” He also brought up Ashley and how she effectively and efficiently took control of the situation, leading employees and customers to safety.
Overall, he said, “The employees were observed acting in an orderly and deliberate manner while evacuating the building and keeping everyone at a safe distance. Their actions were exemplary and could be helpful in teaching others how to deal with a similar event in the future.”
The efforts of the team should be celebrated! Thank you for acting appropriately and being heroes in the situation!