MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – He’s faced a number of life-threating challenges over the years, now a Murfreesboro quadriplegic says he owes his life to his son after he saved him from his burning van.
Casey Dodson, 19, is just thankful he decided to ride with his father Tuesday since he needed gas in the van.
“It’s done, burned to pieces,” Dodson said as he looked at what’s left of his father’s van. “[The fire] started right under here, under his seat.”
Before they made it to the gas station, the van quickly filled with smoke, and then came the flames, so they pulled over.
“I’ll say the flames were about 10 feet over the vehicle, and the smoke was tremendous,” he told News 2.
Dodson tried putting out the fire with water, but it didn’t work.
His dad, Barton Dodson, is a quadriplegic, so his son knew it was up to him to get dad out of the burning van.
“All I saw black smoke, and it was coming up around my head,” Barton Dodson explained.
His son used to be a wrestler, so with his upper body strength and a dose of adrenaline, he was able to pull his dad to safety, with no burns and no injuries.
“It could have burned me up and I could have died,” the father said.
“If I had not been with him it would have been tragic because he was going to ride alone,” the son added. “It was a gift from God that I was with him.”
Barton Dodson told News 2 the owner of Nachos Restaurant came out to help when he saw the fire while other people just kept going or stopped to take pictures.
Even with the van on fire, Casey Dodson was able to open the door and grab his dad’s pouch with his money, medical, and ID. He also grabbed his phone, driver’s license, and other important documents.
Barton Dodson has faced death and tragedy before. He was paralyzed in a diving accident while swimming 41 years ago.
Then his business, Music City Medical Supply in downtown Murfreesboro, burned down in 2010.
He’s just thankful he survived the latest disaster.
“Yeah, I owe my life to him,” the father said. “I don’t know what I’m going to have to do to re-pay him.”
His son said he’s no hero, and his dad said he agrees; he’s a super hero.
“It makes me feel good about myself that I did that for him because he’s done so much for me in my life; I guess we are even,” Casey Dodson said with a smile.
Barton Dodson only had liability insurance on the van, and since it was customized to accommodate his disability, he said he needs help replacing the van.