Natural Gas Hero: Ross Bradshaw

“I’m not a hero,” said Ross Bradshaw, when looking back on a terrifying moment that put him and others driving down a California highway in danger. Bradshaw was halfway through a four-hour drive when he saw an orange traffic cone flip into the air as he approached a construction zone on a curving two-lane mountain road.

He watched the classic Chevy truck in front of him veer off the mountain road, strike a dirt incline and do a half barrel roll, flinging a cloud of dust into the air, before landing upside down with a horrible crash.

Bradshaw was the first car behind that driver and ended up being the only person who stopped to help. “I ran over to see what I could do,” said Bradshaw, a gas control technician for Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E). “And literally the moment I got there, the truck ignited.”

He found the driver on his stomach with one arm pinned under the car and only a 6- to 8-inch gap where he could escape from the burning cab. As the fire grew, Bradshaw noticed the man was drenched in fuel, and he knew he had to act fast. “I was pulling and pulling, and I couldn’t get him out,” Bradshaw recalled. “It was getting hotter, and I knew I was down to the last few seconds.”

Heaving the driver out inches at a time, Bradshaw finally freed the man moments before the truck was engulfed in flames.

A forest ranger and the California Highway Patrol soon arrived to help. Less than an hour later, the man was transported to the hospital via ambulance with only minor injuries.

PG&E created the John A. Britton Award to recognize PG&E heroes like Bradshaw who have saved the life of a colleague or community member. Past winners have performed CPR on heart attack victims, performed the Heimlich maneuver on people who were choking and run headfirst into dangerous roadside accidents.

As Bradshaw says, “PG&E wants you to be ready to act, giving you the education to not fix every situation but to handle what you can handle…I do honestly feel it’s ingrained into us, and I don’t feel I would be the only one who would act that way.” With that commitment to safety and emergency preparedness in mind, we are proud to feature stories of Natural Gas Heroes like Ross Bradshaw as part of our Fueling Our Communities program, and we invite you to stay tuned for more stories of heroism.