Phoenix, Ariz. — The American Gas Association (AGA), representing the nation’s gas utilities, today honored Norman Barnes, a Duke Energy employee whose heroic actions saved the lives of three people overcome by carbon monoxide. Barnes was recognized with AGA’s 2008 Meritorious Service Award, presented annually to individuals whose actions have helped in saving a human life during the calendar year.
As a service technician and first responder to incident calls, Barnes was called to a Cincinnati apartment building in January, where he found firefighters had evacuated and were airing out upper floors due to high readings of carbon monoxide.
Investigating the source of the leak, Barnes went from apartment to apartment, finding normal levels of carbon monoxide. At the final apartment on the bottom floor, there was no answer to his knock. Barnes placed his test instrument in the apartment's mail slot and registered a dangerous reading.
After calling the fire department to return to the scene, he continued knocking until he was able to get a man to answer the door. Barnes observed that the man was severely affected by carbon monoxide poisoning and also spotted a woman lying on the floor. Calling to nearby neighbors for help, Barnes was able to get the individuals outside into cleaner air. Learning that someone else may have been inside, he returned to find a woman in a back bedroom, whom he also carried to safety.
“AGA is proud to honor Mr. Barnes’ selfless actions,” said AGA President and CEO Dave Parker. “In the course of his duties, Mr. Barnes is responsible for the safety of thousands of customers every day, but in this situation, his persistence and clear-headed response saved the lives of three people.”
Barnes has been an employee of Duke Energy for more than 19 years. For his actions that day, Mr. Barnes has also been honored with the James B. Duke award, Duke Energy’s highest award for achievement, as well as the 2007 Midwest ENERGY Association Life Sustaining Award.