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Mount Eden fire chief injured by ‘trap door’

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By Mallory Bilger

TAYLORSVILLE – A routine fire run on Jan. 20 quickly resulted in an ugly injury for Mount Eden Fire Chief Doug Herndon.

Herndon and other Mount Eden firefighters responded to the 3500 block of Mill Road to what was reported as an electric fire that originated in the historical home's wall. Herndon – who is employed full time by the Shelbyville Fire Department – said he entered the home and started to investigate a utility room that ended up having an unwanted surprise.

A floor entrance to the home's crawl space was uncovered, and Herndon unknowingly walked into the hole. Herndon fell into the space below, seriously breaking and dislocating his left leg

"I don't know if it was covered up with something; it was just like a trap door," Herndon said.

This is Herndon's first-ever job-related injury during his 30-plus years of fighting fires. It is also his first broken bone.

"I've been blessed," Herndon said, while resting in his home Monday afternoon. "I've been doing this 30-something years, and that's the first time I've ever been hurt."

Herndon was transported to Baptist Health Hospital in Louisville, where he underwent numerous x-rays and extensive surgery on Jan. 21.

"I've got screws and all that in there. There were some bone fragments floating around. They had to piece it back together," he said. "I was in a whole lot of pain."

Herndon said his doctors have told him it will probably be six months before he can return to work. He has been instructed to put no weight on his injured leg for 10 weeks.

It's a difficult task for a lifelong firefighter to sit back knowing his fellow first responders are out on calls without him, but Herndon said he is going to do his best to follow doctor's orders so he can recover fully and return to work.

"I've got all my radios and pagers turned off. I can't do anything about it and I worry about the guys so I'd just rather not know about it," Herndon said of the emergency runs.

Herndon said many colleagues, friends and family have sent their prayers and well wishes, including the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department.

"The TSCFD would like to wish Mount Eden Chief Doug Herndon a speedy recovery from the fire today," the department posted on its Facebook page Monday afternoon.