JANE, Mo. — Bill Elliot of Jane, Mo. says he’s no hero. He just happened to be driving down the road when he saw a converted bus burning next to a large propane tank. Joplin News First had a chance to chat with him.
I was just coming down the road to go to Rogers to help with the storm clean up after the storms last night. My Uncle called me and told me his girlfriend had a tree on her house. So I was headed out with my skid steer when I pulled up I saw the bus was on fire, the van was on fire.
So I yelled at somebody to help me get my skid steer unloaded. I ran over there and tried to pull the bus out but it wouldn’t come. Because I was hung up on all the gas valves and all the safety features that keep people from hitting the valves.
But they said somebody was still in the bus… and they managed to get the window knocked out. The front of the bus was about 3 feet off the ground yet, and they couldn’t reach up in there and get him. So I just told them to get in the bucket on the skid steer, so I raised them up where they could reach down in there and pull the guy out.
Shannon: So there was fire all around this whole time right?
Bill: Oh yeah
Shannon: Weren’t you scared?
Bill: Always! Always! (laughing) But you do what you gotta do. There were other people there. People keep saying I’m a hero, I’m no hero. The heroes were the guys in the bucket up there pulling that guy out. They were right up there in the smoke and the flames. They didn’t hesitate, they went right in there. One of the gentlemen I spoke to him and updated him on the [victims] condition and asked him if he knew the others and he said he thought two of them were truck drivers.
So guys if you are out there, Y’all are heroes. You did great. I mean we need more of that.”