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By Calen McKinney
Central Kentucky News-Journal
They remain in a Louisville hospital receiving treatment, but reports are they are improving each day.
Firefighter Tony Grider is still in critical condition and Alex Quinn is in stable condition after they were shocked last Thursday afternoon when they got too close to a power line after helping Campbellsville University students with an ALS ice bucket challenge.
Grider and Quinn were two of four Campbellsville Fire & Rescue personnel injured. Captain Steve Marrs and firefighter Alex Johnson were the others.
Officials had a news conference last Thursday evening to discuss what happened, though they said the investigation was still in its early stages.
Grider, 41, a captain, who lives in Columbia, and Quinn, 22, a firefighter from Campbellsville, were in the bucket portion of the aerial ladder truck just before they were injured.
Preliminary investigation revealed that, as the bucket came close to a power line, it crossed the electric energy threshold and an electric arc was created. The arc struck Grider and Quinn.
Marrs, 37, and Johnson, 28, assumed control of the ladder in an attempt to lower it to the ground. In the process, they received electrical shocks from current traveling down the ladder.
On Monday, Campbellsville Fire & Rescue Chief Kyle Smith issued a news release about the incident.
Smith stated that Grider and Quinn remain at University of Louisville Hospital. According to a hospital representative, the men are receiving treatment in the burn unit there.
The release states that Marrs and Johnson were treated and released and returned to duty.
“All of the families involved, especially the families of Captain Grider and Firefighter Quinn, wish to express their sincere appreciation to those who have provided care, food, cards, visits and especially thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” Smith stated.
“Our fire department family, as well as the Columbia/Adair County Fire Department, where Captain Grider is a volunteer firefighter, is equally grateful.
“The Campbellsville community, Campbellsville University and especially firefighters from across Kentucky and the nation that have called, visited and been there for us is appreciated more than they will ever know,” Smith stated. “We also want to thank the fire departments in Louisville and Jefferson County, as well as Eric Johnson and the staff from Supporting Heroes, who have been there for us and the firefighters’ families from day one.”
Smith stated that more information will be released when it becomes available.
On Tuesday, Smith said he can’t reveal information about the treatment Grider and Quinn are undergoing, mostly at their families’ request.
Smith said firefighters from his operation have been at Grider’s and Quinn’s hospital rooms around the clock. He said firefighters from Jefferson County and Louisville operations have as well.
“The support that they have shown our firefighters and their families and our fire department’s families has been overwhelming,” Smith said. “They’ve been there from day one.”
The Supporting Heroes organization, Smith said, is a group that helps those who are severely injured in the line of duty.
In addition to firefighters visiting Grider and Quinn, many fundraisers have begun to raise money to support them.
Smith said Campbellsville Fire & Rescue isn’t involved for the fundraisers, but many have been started to help with medical and other expenses.
Those wanting to donate to Grider and Quinn can do so at any United Citizens Bank branch. According to Roger Meadows, vice president and chief operating officer at the Columbia location, Eric Townsend and Jeff Coffey of the U.S. Civil Corps LLC created an account for Grider and Quinn. Donations are accepted during business hours and all proceeds will go to Grider and Quinn.
Townsend said he is a close friend of Grider’s. The two work with the U.S. Civil Corps to offer self defense, combat, medical care and survival training.
He said he hoped to create an account to help Grider and Quinn with some expenses, such as hotel costs. Townsend said he anticipated a few hundred dollars would be raised. But within a few days, the account stood at more than $2,000.
Campbellsville/Taylor County EMS personnel Ashley Wilcher and Candice Staton are selling T-shirts and window decals with the Campbellsville Fire & Rescue logo and the words “Pray for Tony, Alex.”
Wilcher said she and Staton work the same shift as Grider and wanted to do something to help him and Quinn. The response, she said, has been good.
“Oh my goodness, we’re overwhelmed,” Wilcher said. “We’re heartbroken with all that’s gone on.”
So far, more than 500 T-shirts have been ordered and she said she doesn’t believe any of those are extra.
“Just as soon as I order them, they’re gone,” she said.
And the requests to buy the shirts and decals have come from Kentucky and several other states, including Florida, Colorado and West Virginia.
T-shirts are $10 and the decals are $5. Wilcher said money raised will go toward the cost of the items, which are $5 and $1.50, respectively. Proceeds left will go to Grider and Quinn.
Those who want to buy a T-shirt or decal can call Wilcher at 859-583-8778 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wilcher said she and Staton felt helpless after learning Grider and Quinn had been severely injured. But they soon put their effort into raising money for the men.
“And it gives everybody a little something to say, ‘Hey, I helped.’”
Wilcher said a fundraiser for the two men is also being planned in Lincoln County, where she lives.
Southern States and AutoSmart will team up this weekend to raise money for Grider and Quinn.
Jeremy Sollberger, field sales manager at Southern States, said his company will offer propane tank fill-ups for $9.99 through Saturday, with $1 from each going to benefit the two men.
And on Saturday, the businesses will host a joint cookout at about noon. There will be no charge for the food, though donations will be accepted for Grider and Quinn. The T-shirts and decals will be available at the cookout.
Tim Stringer, general sales manger at AutoSmart, said his business will give $250 to Grider and Quinn for every car sold through the weekend. A minimum of $1,000 will be donated, he said, no matter how many cars are sold.
Colton’s Steak House & Grill will donate 10 percent of total sales next Tuesday to Grider and Quinn. The restaurant will also offer a raffle for a Colton’s gift card. Those proceeds will also to go to the men.
A Facebook Page, available at www.facebook.com/prayersforcfr, has been created to honor Grider and Quinn.
According to the page, many people have brought food and cards to fire and rescue headquarters.
Cards can be brought to the station or mailed in care of Grider and Quinn to Campbellsville Fire & Rescue, 100 W. Broadway, Campbellsville KY 42718.