Veteran rescues woman from a blazing RV

MOUNT POCONO (WNEP) -- It's a sight people who were there last year on a stretch of Route 611 in Mount Pocono can easily remember -- an RV on fire, rolling down the road, as smoke and flames poured from the inside.

It's a sight Chris Chmielnicki of Scotrun remembers vividly.

"I went running out, up the hill and saw the RV on fire. Then I asked if someone was inside and he said, 'Yes, my girlfriend is in there looking for the cat,'" said Chmielnicki.

Chmielnicki, a Navy veteran who served in Iraq, is now being recognized nationally for what he did next.

He ran into the RV and saved a woman who was unconscious inside.

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Veteran honored for saving woman from burning RV
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Veteran honored for saving woman from burning RV

"I had to hit the floor right away because there was smoke, the smoke was toxic and so thick and I started crawling through the RV to the back, feeling around and I felt her leg. She was unconscious and I got behind her, picked her up from underneath her arms and dragged her out of the RV," said Chmielnicki.

The woman he saved, Brenda Jelley of New Jersey, nominated Chmielnicki for the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

He was awarded the Carnegie Medal in recognition of an outstanding act of heroism and just got it in the mail.

Ironically enough, Chris and his fiancee were at an insurance agency in Mount Pocono buying RV insurance when someone ran in and said that there was an RV on fire outside. That's when he jumped into action.

"I don't look at myself as a hero. I was in the right place at the right time and I did what probably anyone else would have done," said Chmielnicki.

James Diamond owns a jewelry store on Route 611. He saw what happened that day and feels Chmielnicki's heroic act should be recognized.

"Our vets are trained to serve and protect and I think it was a great thing he did and I stand by any candidate that stands by our vets," said James Diamond, James Diamond Jewelry owner.

Chmielnicki tells Newswatch 16 he gained a lot of cool points from his family and friends with this award that he is so honored to have been given.

He will also get a medal, that should be sent to him in the next few months.

Chmielnicki does stay in touch with the woman he rescued and says she is still recovering from the ordeal.

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