November 17, 2001, Deputy Kevin Sorenson of the Portage County Sheriff’s Department was on duty when at 1:30 a.m., he was dispatched to a one-car accident on Highway CC. The caller advised that the driver of the car was trapped, unconscious, and had obvious injuries. While enroute to the scene, Deputy Sorenson was advised the car was on fire and that the driver was still trapped.
Nearly twelve minutes after the call came in, Deputy Sorenson arrived and found the wrecked car, off the roadway, with the engine compartment engulfed in flames that raged to four feet in height. Two civilians had been trying to put out the fire. Deputy Sorenson brought his fire extinguisher to the car and then saw the victim, Roche Rossier, partially ejected, hanging facedown out of the driver’s window. Rossier’s legs were trapped between the dashboard and the door. The flames were within one foot of Rossier’s body.
After making an unsuccessful attempt to extinguish the flames, Deputy Sorenson and civilian Michael Kaminski tried to remove Rossier from the burning car. Kaminski held Rossier’s upper body while Deputy Sorenson worked at freeing Rossier’s trapped legs. Once Rossier’s legs had been freed, Deputy Sorenson and Kaminski removed Rossier from the still burning car and carried him to safety. At the side of the road, Deputy Sorenson immediately began a medical assessment and attended to Rossier’s injuries. Portage County ambulance took over medical care and brought Rossier to the Stevens Point airport, where they met the Spirit of Marshfield emergency helicopter. Rossier was air lifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, WI.
Although Roche Rossier has not fully recovered from the injuries he sustained that November night, he certainly would have died in his burning vehicle if not for the selfless actions of Michael Kaminski and Deputy Kevin Sorenson.