Binswanger Tech Becomes National Hero; Rescues Six from Burning Building in Austin, Texas
February 22, 2010

DeHaven has been with Binswanger for two years. Prior to joining the company, he served in the U.S. Army for more than six years and was deployed to Iraq twice.

When Robin DeHaven began his day at Binswanger Glass in Austin, Texas, last Thursday, he probably expected to have an ordinary day. But such was not the case. As the 28-year-old glazier was driving to an afternoon job, he observed a plane crashing off the highway and immediately went to help.

“It seemed out of the ordinary,” DeHaven, a native of Logansport, Ind., told glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR magazine during an exclusive interview late last Friday. “I was on my way to a job to replace a single-pane window. The plane went south and it was going down and I didn’t know what was going to happen. A big cloud of smoke came down.”

That’s when the U.S. Army veteran’s instincts kicked in and he decided to try to help.

“I exited right away and flew into a parking lot,” he recalls. “I tried to call 911, too, but of course they were busy with all the calls.”

Though he finally got through to 911, he continued to head into the direction of the building where the plane had hit. (It has since been revealed that a local man had crashed the plane into the Internal Revenue Services building to which DeHaven headed to help out.)

As DeHaven pulled into the parking lot, another bystander noticed he had a large ladder on the truck and asked if he would help out. Without hesitation, DeHaven says he propped the ladder against the building, trying to ensure that it was stable, and began his climb up to the second story where five people were waiting.

“We tried to put it near a brace … I got to the top and the ladder slipped a little bit and started dropping a few inches,” he says. “I grabbed the ledge and eventually got into the building through the window.”

Knowing the ledge he’d used wouldn’t work for the climb down, DeHaven quickly looked for another option and saw that there was what appeared to be a sturdier ledge at the next window over.

“There was a window still intact over it, so we had to break out that window,” he says.

Once DeHaven attached the ladder to the second window, he began to attempt the rescue mission, escorting each employee out the window, onto the ledge and then onto the ladder. He rescued six people in total.

By that time, the local fire department had arrived on the scene, so DeHaven gathered his ladder (after getting the okay from the fire department) and thought he’d sneak away to have a quiet lunch break, catch his breath, and then continue on to his next job.

“I took my ladder, called my boss and told him I helped some people when a plane crashed,” DeHaven says. “I thought I was just going to get my ladder and go. I didn’t say my name [to anyone there], but I guess someone called the corporate office and corporate found out and called me.”

Though he remembers the details clearly, DeHaven says the rescue took approximately five minutes in total; the fire hadn’t yet entered the office in which he assisted, but the hallways had already begun to fill with smoke at the point he arrived.

DeHaven attributes his ability and quick-to-assist nature to his time in the U.S. Army. During his six and a half years in the military, he was deployed to Iraq twice.

“I was a combat engineer and I’ve been in combat situations,” he says.

Since then, DeHaven has been interviewed by Fox News, ABC, NBC and even appeared on Good Morning America on Friday morning.

Despite his newfound fame, DeHaven remains humble.

“I didn’t figure anyone would find me, but they did, and now I’m just trying to fill the shoes people want me to,” he says.

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