SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Other than his dogs and the occasional passing car, country living is normally pretty quiet for Larry Garner.
Garner was working in his garage Monday, when he got an unexpected visitor. “My cousin came over here and said there was an explosion down the road, so we jumped in the truck and went down there,” he says.
He says at first, he wasn’t sure what kind of scene he’d drive up on. “We didn’t know for sure whether it was a plane or gas line,” says Garner.
Garner says they actually beat law enforcement to the scene. He and his cousin kept their distance, but stood in amazement at what was unfolding in front of them. “Within 300 yards, flames was going up 200-300 feet high,” he says.
Only a few moments after they arrived to the explosion site, they saw someone running towards them “We loaded him up and [brought] him in the yard and gave him a bar of soap and a rag and washed him down real good,” says Garner.
Larry says the contractor was covered in gasoline – his skin severely irritated by the chemicals. More than anything, Larry says he seemed terrified by the traumatic blast.
“We gave him some clothes and carried him on to the hospital,” says Garner.
Larry didn’t catch the man’s name – he said the contractor was Hispanic and there was a significant language barrier.
“Like I said, just trying to help somebody,” he says.
Like most unsung heroes, Larry doesn’t see himself as one. “That’s all we was doing, just trying to help somebody,” he says.
For several hours Monday, Larry’s yard became a way-station for first-responders. It’s now returned to its genteel nature once again. As a long-time resident of County Road 13, it’s a sight he hopes he doesn’t have to see ever again.