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Council recognizes officer who saved burning man

By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Three people, including a Lincoln police officer, were recognized by the city council Tuesday night for their efforts in saving the life of a man who was trapped in a burning truck and stuck on the railroad tracks.

Nearly 100 people filled the Lincoln City Council chambers Tuesday to show their support for the local heroes.

On the morning of Sept. 3, Cpl. Jeff Morse of the Lincoln Police Department pulled Robert Francis Calhoun, 56, from his truck which was on fire. Calhoun, of Granite Bay, was also on fire.

Morse was helped by four people who were nearby: Don Shook, 22, of Lincoln; Jacqueline Rampenelli, 42, of Roseville, Oscar Aldrete, 25, of Lincoln, and Emanuel Verduzco, 28, of Yuba City.

Calhoun, who suffered life-threatening third-degree burns to his upper body and head, remains in critical but stable condition at U.C. Davis Medical Center and is expected to recover, according to Lincoln Police Chief Rex Marks.

“There is no doubt that Mr. Calhoun is alive today due to the selfless actions of Cpl. Morse, Mr. Shook, Ms. Rampenelli, Mr. Aldrete and Mr. Verduzco who sacrificed their own safety to save his life,” Marks said.

Calhoun, who was driving southbound on the railroad tracks, was stuck near the 3rd Street rail crossing when his truck caught on fire. Marks said it was determined that Calhoun had driven onto the tracks at McBean Park Drive.

Morse, who was returning home at 6 a.m. after working a 12-hour patrol shift, saw the burning truck and proceeded to remove Calhoun, who was trapped. According to Marks, Shook and Rampenelli helped Morse pull Calhoun from the burning truck and Aldrete brought a fire extinguisher from the nearby McDonald’s restaurant and put out the flames on Calhoun. Verduzco, Marks said, helped officers Jeromy Henson and Brett Schneider carry Calhoun away from the burning truck.