KAW Team Member Helps Save Family from Fire

APRIL 2024 – Kaw River Railroad Conductor/Engineer Doug Fleming’s team members know him as someone who always steps up to help others, whether at work or off the clock. In the early morning hours of January 7, 2024, he proved that to be true.

Fleming and his daughter Lexi were both awoken by the smell of smoke. They initially feared it was their house but quickly realized it was the next door neighbors’ home. By the time they made it outside, flames had engulfed the first floor. This left the windows on the second story as the only means of escape. Doug and Lexi immediately leaped into action.

The Flemings and another neighbor positioned themselves below an upstairs window while the father of the family dropped two young, twin boys into their arms. Then, father and mother jumped to safety. They all quickly realized that the couple’s 17-year-old daughter was still inside. Doug and the other neighbor attempted to enter the house to rescue the remaining family member, but the smoke and flames were too intense. They risked their own lives and risked endangering the first responders, who were still enroute, if they pushed further into the house. Tragically, the teenager didn’t make it out.

“Doug did everything he could, more than most of us would have done,” said KAW General Manager Brandon Craddock. “I know that loss is still weighing heavily on him. That’s just the type of person he is. I’ve worked with Doug for three years. His willingness to help others at work, or in a situation like this, is unmatched.”

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