Firefighter forgets phone, saves life

Published 10:15 pm Thursday, October 8, 2015

A forgotten cellphone and firefighters’ training recently combined to help save the life of a man Suffolk Fire & Rescue Lt. Taz Lancaster encountered while on vacation.



Lancaster was surfing — a love developed during a childhood in southern California — in Buxton when he realized he had forgotten his phone in his pocket, according to a city press release.

He started making his way back to shore to drop the phone off when he noticed an unattended surfboard. After scanning the area, he noticed a man floating in the water with only his head above water.

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When he got closer, the man, who was in his mid-40s, told Lancaster that he had hit his head on his surfboard and felt like he was paralyzed, according to the press release.

Lancaster brought the victim to shore and used a surfboard as a backboard to stabilize the man. Local authorized airlifted the injured man to the hospital.

“This was just like another day on the job,” Lancaster said. “I was glad to be able to help out, as someone else might not have known how to handle the situation without causing more damage to the victim.”

“I am very proud of Lt. Lancaster,” Suffolk Fire & Rescue Chief Cedric Scott said. “He is a shining example of the dedication, professionalism, and heroism displayed by the men and women of Suffolk Fire and Rescue. I applaud his lifesaving efforts, and I am so happy that he was there in a time of need and that his actions saved a life.”

Lancaster is a Suffolk native but grew up in California. He came home after serving as a volunteer firefighter in Virginia Beach.