OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – News 4 and First Fidelity Bank are honoring a hero; a man who selflessly ran into a flooded building to rescue a co-worker and save her life.
Last June, a summer storm brought a deluge of rain to Southwest Oklahoma City.
Packaging manufacturer Supply One was right in the path.
“All of the sudden, everything just collapsed. The roof came down on me,” said accounting employee, Ashley Collins. “The next thing I know, I’m on the ground, under the ceiling. My head was under the water because the water just kept coming in.”
Collins was trapped under ceiling tiles. Her leg was stuck and she thought she was going to die.
“I did. I did. I had a hard time getting my head above the water. I was honestly starting to think I wasn’t going to be able to get out,” Collins remembers. “About that time, I heard Sidney, and he just kept saying my name over and over, which gave me the strength I needed to push my way out.”
Sidney Byars is a truck driver for Supply One.
He doesn’t typically work inside the building, but on the day of the flooding he ran inside to help.
“As soon as he saw me, he picked me up and carried me out,” Collins said. “We got into the hallway, and I could see everybody else. That day he was definitely an angel. He is my hero.”
Supply One Facility Manager, Brandon Mills, said four employees were injured that day, and Byars helped rescue three of four.
“Luckily when the roof collapsed he had seen where she was, because no one else really knew,” said Mills. “We all know each other well enough to know exactly who was gone and who wasn’t. I asked for a headcount. Within five seconds, everyone knew Ashley wasn’t with us.”
They are a tight-knit group of co-workers at Supply One; always watching out for one another.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it out,” Collins said to Byars. “I didn’t think I was going to see my family. But when I heard you call my name, it gave me the strength to push my way to where you could find me.”
On behalf of First Fidelity Bank and News 4, Ashley Collins presented Sidney Byars with $400.
“Life is precious,” Byars said. “Every life is precious. I’d do it again, anytime.”
The roof at Supply One has been replaced.
Repairs are ongoing; rebuilding what was lost that day in the storm.
Byars remembers thinking that if the large, commercial, rooftop AC unit would have come crashing down when the roof collapsed, that the day could have ended in tragedy.
“He’s got something for her to do. I don’t know what it is, but He’s got something for her to do. God is good all the time,” Byars said. “I’d do it again, and she don’t owe me nothing. I’d do it for any of them.”
Byars plans to use some of this reward to buy some new cologne.
“It just shows that a little bit of love and concern for your neighbor can literally be lifesaving as it was in this situation. Because of Sidney’s selflessness it is my honor to present him with $400 as a token of our appreciation,” said First Fidelity Bank’s Adam Kelly.