Ala. firefighter says he’s no hero after rescuing driver from sinking car

Courtesy: WKRG
Courtesy: WKRG

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) —A Mobile firefighter who rescued a driver that drove his car into Mobile Bay on Tuesday doesn’t believe he’s a hero, despite what’s being said on social media.

Jonathon C. Lyles of Mobile Fire-Rescue spoke to WKRG a day after helping save 60-year-old James McCollum, who was seriously injured after speeding and plummeting into the waters off the Causeway.

Courtesy: WKRG
Courtesy: WKRG

“I kicked my shoes off, went in, was able to get the door open and the car was slowly taking on water at that point. [McCollum] was conscious, and I was able to pull him out, get him to shore, get him to dry land,” said Lyles.

McCollum may have suffered a medical episode at the wheel, causing the accident. He was last listed in serious condition at USA Medical Center after being airlifted from the scene.

Lyles, who was off-duty, was driving home when he saw the car go off the roadway and into Mobile Bay. He sprinted into action, and received some cuts and bruises in helping get McCollum to the shore.

“That was one of those situations where you just act on it. We train so much it becomes second nature to us. A lot of people would hesitate, but you do a quick size-up in your head, look at the surroundings around you, and go,” said Lyles.

Lyles is being called a “hero” online, but was reluctant to be interviewed, saying he was just doing his job.

“No, not at all,” said Lyles when asked if he considered himself a hero. “I haven’t made the ultimate sacrifice yet. Those guys, those are the heroes.”