July 22, 2008
Officer Bret Gill with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) is credited with saving the life of a woman after
he risked his own life to enter a vehicle on fire to pull her to
The incident occurred at 1 a.m. on County Road 231 near State Road
100, in Union County.
Gill was off-duty and on his way home when he saw a visibly
distressed woman running down the road. She waved him down and
told him there was a crash and a car was on fire. He called 9-1-1
and followed the woman to the location where he observed a crowd
of people around the vehicle which was nearly fully engulfed in
“She (the passenger) was lying across her seat and her legs and
shirt were on fire,” Gill said. “I grabbed her by her arms and
pulled her out, and then I rolled her on the ground to put the
The vehicle had struck a power pole after witnesses say the driver
ran a stop sign and lost control. The driver had perished in the
fiery crash before Gill arrived. While the officer and bystanders
waited for the ambulance, the vehicle exploded. Gill was
unscathed, and there were no other injuries.
The victim, who is 28 years old, was flown to Shands Hospital at
the University of Florida, where she is being treated.
Gill’s supervisor, Capt. Roy Brown, praised the officer who has
been with the FWC for three and a half years.
“There were people standing around before he got there, but no one
did what Bret did,” Brown said. “He’s an outstanding officer. He
has a real concern for his community and he’s well-known and