Volume 12, Issue 2 - March/April 2010

industry insiders
people in the news

Binswanger Tech Becomes National Hero; Rescues Six from Burning Building in Austin, Texas
A glass technician recently became a national hero when he rescued six people from a burning building in Austin, Texas. Robin DeHaven of Binswanger Glass was driving to a job on February 18 when 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 AGRR magazine/glassBYTEs.com™ during an exclusive interview. “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 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.

MGA Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Foley Passes Away

Kevin Foley, secretary-treasurer of the Minnesota Glass Association (MGA) and owner of Auto Glass Today in Minneapolis, passed away on Thursday, January 28. He was 44.

Foley entered the glass business only a few years ago with his purchase of Auto Glass Today, according to a statement from the MGA, and he immersed himself in the industry quickly. He immediately became involved with the MGA and was elected to the Board as secretary treasurer.

He is survived by his wife, Heidi; father, John Foley; sister, Debbie Foley; cousin, John Polley; parents-in-law, Fern and Stuart Johnson; sisters-in law, Janice (Tom) Jordan; Susan (Scott) James, Joyce Johnson; brother-in-law Perry (Shelly) Johnson; and many nieces and nephews.

© Copyright 2010 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.