GROTON, Conn. – First Responders often rush towards danger when other people might run away. A Naval officer assigned to Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London, and living in the City of New London, did just that, rushing towards danger like a First Responder, when he and his wife heard an explosion outside their home and found a car accident and wounded driver stuck inside, May 15.
A construction manager assigned to the SUBASE Public Works Department, Lt. j.g. John Amos has overseen on-base projects including the Medical Homeport renovations and the building of new parking lots in summer 2019. The Boise, Idaho, native was at home with his wife when they were startled by a sudden, loud sound.
“My wife, Rachel, and I were inside the house when we heard a large explosion right outside,” said Amos. “Out of the corner of her eye, Rachel noticed a large object fly by the window and yelled for me to get up and see what happened. We both immediately rushed to the front of our driveway. There were live power lines downed, very loud buzzing from the continuous arcing on the trees and the telephone pole was completely shattered.”
Rachel called 911 while Amos himself ran outside to investigate. Amos, an expectant father, said the prospect of children being harmed in the accident was what compelled him to act.
“My wife and I are expecting a baby boy in December so when I saw children’s clothing and shoes scattered across the street, my heart sank and my thoughts went straight to the worst-case scenario,” said Amos. “I safely maneuvered around the live power lines, yelled to the driver to see if he was responsive, and asked whether there was anyone else in the car. He said no, and I immediately told him not to move while I ripped the door open and called to bystanders for a knife.”
Amos said as he cut the driver free of his inoperable seat belt and removed him from the car, as the vehicle appeared to begin smoking. Bystanders feared an explosion might be imminent, and Amos had the driver taken to a nearby house while he checked the car to ensure there were no other passengers. The car was empty, but the origin of the children’s clothing was never determined.
“Once I determined the car was clear, I ran to the backyard to get a hose since smoke was coming out of the engine,” said Amos. “I sprinted back to the car and started spraying everything down while my neighbor used his fire extinguisher to help suppress any flames.”
Amos said First Responders arrived at the scene just as the fire was being contained. Despite the violent crash, the driver did not require medical attention.
Cmdr. Matthew Williams, SUBASE New London Public Works officer, said he was impressed by Amos’s actions, but not surprised.
“It’s amazing to hear and read about it,” said Williams. “I could picture John just sitting there, hearing an explosion and going, ‘what the heck was that?’ and then jumping into action…because that’s his personality.“
A personality, Williams noted, that is exemplified in Amos’ readiness and willingness to go out of his way to help people.
“It’s a very heroic thing he did,” said Williams. “Anybody would call 911, but how many would actually jump right in? He’s a model citizen and a model Naval officer.”
Amos, as Williams might have predicted, reflected upon the event with additional concern for others.
“Rachel, and I are just very grateful that no one was out walking along the street at the time,” said Amos. “This definitely could have been a lot worse, and we're glad there were no serious injuries."
“Some SUBASE Good News” (SSGN) is an effort to provide uplifting stories about the personnel, programs, and initiatives that help make Naval Submarine Base New London, “The First and Finest.”