Sembach, Germany – On Sunday, July 30th, in a quiet residential area near Kaiserslautern, Germany, an Army noncommissioned officer used his training and instinct to extinguish a fire that was quickly spreading from a neighboring home.
Sgt. 1st Class Sean Jeon, the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment Sergeant for Medical Readiness Command, Europe, was enjoying the weekend at home with his family when he heard commotion and yelling outside.
“I heard someone outside yelling fire, fire, so I rushed outside to see what was going on,” said Jeon. “As I ran out my front door, I noticed heavy smoke billowing from the upper windows of two townhomes across the street. While one of my neighbors used his cell phone to call the German fire department, I ensured all the children playing outside were safe and told them to stay back. I then immediately entered both homes to ensure all the occupants were safe and to let them know there was a fire. It was at that moment that I noticed fire and smoke originating from the rear exterior of one of the homes.”
According to Army safety officials, safety and risk reduction are ingrained into Soldiers throughout their military careers. In situations like this, safety becomes second nature to them and their training kicks in.
“Knowing it might take several minutes for the fire department to respond, and that time was critical, I immediately grabbed an empty bucket and filled it with water in an attempt to extinguish the fire,” Jeon added. “After several attempts of dousing the flames with water, I successfully put out the fire. It was shortly after that the German fire department, German Polizei and U.S. Military Police arrived.”
As part of their ongoing training, U.S. Army Soldiers are taught to react to dangerous situations, both on-duty and off-duty.
“At that moment, I couldn’t think of anything else, only to react as fast as I could,” said Jeon. “My body and mind just reacted without thinking or being afraid of the fire. My only concern at the time was that the fire would spread to other homes, and I needed to do everything I could to extinguish the fire.”
Jeon’s neighbors were extremely grateful to him for his quick reaction, saving their property and possibly their lives.
“My neighbors told me that I am a hero, which I don’t think I am,” Jeon added. “I honestly believe that anybody in a similar situation would have done the same thing. I do, however, credit my years of Army training and experience in allowing me to respond to this type of situation. And for that, I am truly grateful.”