You may remember former Oregon Ducks defensive lineman Brandon Bair for his quick release off the line of scrimmage, that led to 5.0 sacks and 25.5 tackles-for-loss in four years in Eugene (2007-2010).
However, his quick reaction time actually saved a man's life last weekend.
Thursday night, Bair was driving on Highway 20 around 5:45 p.m. in Idaho before watching a train collide with a semi-truck, resulting in an explosion, he told EastIdahoNews.com.
After calling 911, Bair heard a voice from the smokey and fiery car pleading for help so he sprung into action.
“It was a conscious decision that I’m going in because he needs help right now,” Bair said to EastIdahoNews.com. “I ran up to the window and saw dripping hot flames all over inside of the truck. I could see a guy in a seatbelt and was able to reach in and get it off of him. He was talking, and I told him we had to get out of here now.”
With the 25-year-old Steven Jenson trapped inside the car and his seatbelt undone, Bair squeezed halfway into the car and helped Jenson break the steering wheel and other equipment. Eventually, Bair was able to pull him out of the car to safety.
“We walked away, and within seconds, the fire on the roof fell down inside, and the whole seat and cab went up in flames. A few minutes later, there were a couple big booms and explosives,” Bair said.
Jenson was airlifted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and is in "fair condition" Friday morning.
After the event which lasted just three minutes, Bair called his wife with a newfound look on life.
“I was able to hold it together and be tough, but then I got a little shaky when I heard her voice,” Bair says. “Being able to go home and put my arms around my kids – it hit me. You never know what’s going to happen in life, and this shows you should hug your family every chance you get.”
The former Duck credited two teens and others who stopped to help and said he doesn't see himself a hero, but rather a man who just did the right thing.
“All I can say is this guy was supposed to live. I’m a man of faith, and I’ve learned to listen to your gut and the promptings you get,” Bair says. “The Lord wanted him alive. Things could have gone different a million different directions, but things worked out on his behalf. That’s my conclusion. Whether it was me or someone else, he was supposed to live.”