BRIDGTON — Bernard Graffam drove into a pole on Route 302 Thursday morning, flipping his truck and trapping him behind the wheel when the pickup caught fire.

In spite of all that, you might say Graffam was lucky.

Police on Thursday said Graffam, 54, of Bridgton, would have been in serious trouble if not for the quick response of a pair of Central Maine Power linemen who pulled him from the flaming wreck.

And if that wasn’t enough aid to the injured, witnesses said a nurse also stopped at the scene.

Graffam was taken to Bridgton Hospital and later released.

Bridgton Police Chief Richard Stillman described the scene in a news release:

“On June 9, 2016, at approximately 8:40 a.m., a pickup truck struck a telephone pole at Portland Road, near Maple Street. The truck broke right through the pole, flipped on its side and the power lines fell on it. The truck caught fire with the operator trapped inside. Just as this happened, two Central Maine Power workers in a bucket truck happened by.”

The CMP linemen were later identified as Paul Reynolds and Andrew Grant. Police said the pair jumped to action when they saw that the driver of the pickup was unable to get out of his burning truck.

“After a struggle, they were able to free the operator and get him to safety just as the truck became fully engulfed in flames,” Stillman said in the release. “They then went to work cutting the power to these lines so the scene would be safe for firefighters.”

Heroics behind them, the CMP linemen went back to work.

“Once Bridgton Fire doused the flames,” Stillman wrote, “these two men went about rolling up broken and cut power lines.”

Bridgton police wrote on their Facebook page: “If not for their bravery and quick thinking, this story could have had a much different headline. Our hats are off to you gentlemen, job well done.”

Police were investigating the cause of the crash Thursday. They also hailed the two CMP workers as heroes.

“Paul Reynolds and Andrew Grant of Central Maine Power risked their own safety and saved the operator from certain death,” Stillman wrote, “and they should be commended for their bravery.”

A CMP spokeswoman said Grant and Reynolds work out of the company’s Bridgton office, although it was not immediately clear where the two men live. 

“We could not be prouder of them for their actions,” said Spokeswoman Gail N. Rice. “They took quick action to extricate the man from his vehicle and they did so safely. Our employees have a long history of helping people in emergency situations. In the past, they have helped get wandering children to safety and one even helped to deliver a baby on the side of I-95 a few years back.”


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