Officials share story of deputy who saved 2 people fleeing from Knolls Fire

UTAH COUNTY, Utah, July 14, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah County Sheriff’s officials shared the story of a deputy who saved a man and a woman who were fleeing from the Knolls Fire late last month.

In the video above, UCSO Lt. Jeff Jones speaks with UCSO spokesman Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

“There was a pretty big fire over on the other side of the lake,” Jones says in the video. “Deputy John Thomas was over there and he saved some people. He put himself in jeopardy.”

Cannon adds: “We don’t share this with you to toot a horn, but we want you to realize that in the midst of so much news that feels bad, and feels hurtful, there are still good things going on. Not just in law enforcement, but in fire service because in this story we’re going to tell you about, both fire service folks and law enforcement officers were involved.”

On June 28, at about 9 p.m., Deputy John Thomas was working at the south end of the Knolls fire at mile marker 17 south of Saratoga Springs on State Route 68. 

The video shows dash cam video from Thomas’ vehicle as he drives toward the fire. Thomas calmly says to dispatch: “We just had a large flare up down here with a couple of individuals running away.”

The man and woman in question were driving north, but their truck became stuck in a ravine. The engine then began leaking gas, which ignited and caught the truck on fire.

The 21-year-old woman was burned while reaching back into the vehicle to retrieve her cellphone.

In the video, Thomas asks dispatch to send an ambulance for the woman, then loads the two into his own vehicle and drives them back to safety on SR-68. The woman was flown by Life Flight to the University of Utah hospital to be treated for her burns. She was left in critical condition with burns to about 20 percent of her body, and airway issues.

The Knolls Fire, which broke out June 28 on the east side of Lake Mountain, burned approximately 10,000 acres. In total, two homes were damaged and one home outside city limits was lost.


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