TOL Team Treasure: Duane Ashley Rescues Family During Galena Street Water Emergency

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

It was not a water main break that caused major flooding on Galena and Chase Streets in north Toledo on November 28th. It was a failed T-fitting that resulted in water leaking from one end of a pipe. A lot of water.

But the cause didn’t matter to Duane Ashley, City of Toledo Water Distribution Emergency Worker. He immediately hopped into his vehicle and headed for the leak to try and get it under control, like he was trained to do.

He was almost there when in the distance he saw an SUV rocking back and forth on the brink of a sinkhole.

“I just knew once I saw the door of the car open, there were people inside,” Ashley said. “I knew the car was in danger and I felt like I had to get to them quickly.”

Ashley tried to pull his truck around to get closer to the vehicle but he couldn’t position his truck close enough.

“I knew I had to get them safe and secured especially after I realized the driver had two young children in the car,” Ashley said.

He tried again, and then again. Finally, Ashley was able to maneuver his truck to get close enough. The driver, 29-year-old mother Megan Terry, handed her children, a 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter, to Ashley.

“The son was crying and clinging to me,” Ashley said. “Once I got them in my truck, I calmed them down and let them know that they were safe and that I would be taking them home.”

“Thank God for him. He is amazing and acted so quickly.” Terry said.

The good Samaritan took the family home and got straight back into action.

“After I was able to get them home safely, I turned right around and headed back to the flooding,” Ashley said. “We had a school surrounded by flood water and families trying to get their kids home. I needed to get that water under control.”

Ashley doesn’t consider himself a local hero despite his heroic efforts to rescue the Terry family. He believes his team deserves part of the credit.

“I was just doing my job,” Ashley said. “We all are heroes, you know?”