‘First responders are amazing’: Firefighter reads to girl who survived car crash
BILLINGS, Mont. - A viral picture captured a touching moment when a firefighter read a book to a little girl after she survived a car crash in Montana.
The Billings Fire Department identified the firefighter as Ryan Benton, 26.
Authorities said on Sept. 29, Benton and Billings Engine 4 responded to a two-vehicle accident on Broadwater Avenue around 8 p.m. local time. Firefighters said no injuries were reported, but both vehicles sustained major damage, making them undrivable.
According to the department, Benton noticed one of the occupants was a young girl. He took a book and started reading to her to take her mind off the traumatic event while crews and her parents waited for tow trucks to clear the accident.
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"Benton took it upon himself to read a story to the girl while her parents dealt with the accident," Billings Firefighters Media Coordinator Cameron Abell said in a statement to FOX Television Stations Monday. "This allowed her to calm down and allowed the parents the ability to focus on getting some sense of normalcy back after a traumatic event like an accident."
Authorities added that whenever Billings firefighters respond to a fire or a crash, they always carry book bags containing a stuffed animal, a book about firefighters and another book that helps children relate to a scary situation.
"The idea was anytime we are on an emergency with a child (medical emergency, fire, car accident, etc.) we can have something to give to the parents/child and help them have something to take their mind of the event," Abell continued.
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Allie Marie Schmalz was a bystander on the scene and snapped the photo, posting it on her Facebook page.
"Sweetest thing ever!" she posted. "This fireman is reading books to a little girl after being in an accident. First responders are amazing."
Benton declined to be interviewed for this story. But Abell believes Benton would say he was just doing his job.
"The Department is extremely proud of our people and Firefighter Benton is one of many examples of why," Abell added.
"As this photo shows, our people are the light on a cold scary night," he continued. "They will be there for you when your darkest moment happens."
This story was reported from Los Angeles.