Life can be very unpredictable and sometimes, when we least expect it, we could only be given split-seconds to react and make a life-altering decision. However, life-altering decisions can affect more than one person, as a good Samaritan who selflessly saved a life is learning that no good deed goes unpunished.
Tequila Isaacson, 34, and her boyfriend were heading back to Idaho from Washington. Isaacson and her boyfriend made a rest stop on the way home at Snoqualmie Pass and in the parking area of the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Just as Isaacson and her boyfriend had pulled into a parking space, another truck with a family had parked into a nearby space. As the family truck had parked and the parents exited, the truck suddenly burst into flames with a child still trapped inside.
Isaacson was stunned by the life-or-death situation that had just unraveled in seconds before her eyes. Describing how quickly the truck fire developed, Isaacson said, “There is just this loud ‘wooosh’ you know that backdraft, you open your wood stove noise and we turn around real quick and the flames are just shooting up between the cab and the bed of the truck.”
Isaacson’s boyfriend called 911 while the parents frantically, but unsuccessfully, tried to free their endangered child. Isaacson, with only seconds to act before a child burned alive in front of her, noticed a nearby diner called Red Mountain Coffee, broke a glass door, took a fire extinguisher from a wall and extinguished the truck fire, saving the child’s life.
However, saving a child from a fire, and perhaps preventing a vehicle from exploding, were just the beginning of Isaacson’s problems. A fire truck arrived as well as a representative from the Washington Department of Transportation, who admonished Isaacson’s selfless actions, exclaiming as Isaacson recounts, “So we break glass instead of waiting for the fire department?”
The first responders instructed Isaacson to wait for police, and a state trooper soon arrived to give the good Samaritan an ultimatum concerning her actions. Isaacson said the state trooper, upon being informed of Isaacson’s actions, was more concerned about her breaking into the diner and taking the extinguisher, saying, “We could hear the officer say whoever did it better be ready to pay for it right now or they are going to jail for burglary.”
Isaacson said, “He was telling me that using a fire extinguisher that doesn’t belong to me is theft and you’re not allowed to steal it, no matter how good your intentions.” The state trooper then made Isaacson promise to reimburse the diner for repairs, as Isaacson added, “He out right stated that unless I was willing to pay for it right then and there, he will be charging me with burglary.”
Isaacson said that her split-second decision-making had more to do with instinct than conscious thought. Thinking over the experience, Isaacson said, “Talk about no good deed goes unpunished.”
No charges against Isaacson have been filed as of yet. The Washington State Patrol, perhaps stung by the negative press, issued a press release saying that they were grateful for Issacson’s selfless act in saving the child and would review how the responding state trooper handled the matter.
The moments of action in a life and death situation reveal the character of a person, and Isaacson showed herself to be a true hero who saved a child’s life. Hopefully, Isaacson will not be charged with burglary for taking the fire extinguisher, but if she were, it is probable that no court would convict someone who selflessly saved a child from a fire.