City of Franklin Fire Department
On the evening of February 18, 2002, the Franklin Fire Department was dispatched to a fire at the Whitnall View Motel on Lovers Lane Road. Battalion Chief Ronald Mayer was the first to arrive at the motel. Seeing heavy smoke coming out of one of the rooms and crowd gathering in front of the one story building, BC Mayer called for additional fire units. He also saw a man crawling out of the room. This man, the motel owner, had been trying to get inside the room to find the man that was believed to still be inside. Doing his best to get to where the man was believed to be, he could not quite get there. The blistering heat and deadly black smoke forced him out of every attempt.
Knowing that the first arriving engine company was still minutes away and that a few of the bystanders were making plans to try another rescue attempt, BC Mayer decided to try to get to the imperiled man himself. Crawling along the floor to the far side of the hot, smoke filled room, BC Mayer was able to get to the side of a bed where he found a 53-year-old man, lying unconscious on the floor. Stopping momentarily to radio in the situation, BC Mayer then dragged the man out of the building to the safety of the cold outside air. Once outside he got him covered with a blanket and found that he was barely breathing. Staying with the man, BC Mayer directed the firefighting operations from that location until paramedics arrived to take over his care.
Not only did the heroic actions of Battalion Chief Ronald Mayer save the life of the man, who suffered from smoke inhalation and received second and third degree burns over 28% of his body, but he most likely saved some well meaning by-standers from injury or death by preventing them from entering the burning room as well.