Columbus OH Dec 24 2016 The Good Lord and a lot of training helped Patrick Spencer “just do my job” Wednesday when he led nearly 30 people to safety before a gas-line explosion rocked a Hilltop shopping center.
“And that, my friend, was a Merry Christmas for everyone,” said Spencer, a security guard at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Primary Care Center next to the Domino’s pizza shop that was flattened after a construction crew struck a gas line beneath West Broad Street.
He might not think his actions were anything special, but the 51-year-old has received a ton of thank-yous in the past day.
"I'm flattered, but again, I'm just doing my job, and Children’s Hospital really trains us well to handle these kinds of situations," Spencer said on Thursday.
The security guard was sitting at his desk in the center on Wednesday afternoon when he smelled gas. He went to the front door, and the smell grew stronger.
“I looked outside and I noticed that a couple of workers were running away,” Spencer said. "You can't blame them."
He said the manager of the Domino's shop next door was frantically instructing her workers to get out of the restaurant.
Spencer ran back and told Children's employees, visitors and patients to head out the back door. When they got outside, Spencer and the group heard a loud blast.
"I could feel the concussion from the explosion, the heat from the explosion," he said.
Spencer, an Army veteran who's worked for Children's for four years, credited the "incredible amount of training" that the hospital provides its security personnel.
Noting that no one was injured by the explosion, fire or deadly gas, Spencer said, "The Lord was with us all. ... For that, these little children get to see Santa and there is no grieving, no grieving families."