A local man was recognized for being a hero after taking quick action and risking his life to save a young child.

We were there Wednesday as the Saint Elmo man received the "Citizen Achievement Award." 

The accident happened on February 17, 2018.  An 18 wheeler hauling hazardous materials collided with three vehicles at the base of Lookout Mountain. One person was killed.

Van Anderson, received "Citizen Achievement Award",  "It was a pretty loud explosion.  I was thinking the truck went through the guardrail, but when I went down to see if I could  help the driver, I realized there was a car under it and I could hear the child crying."

Emergency crews were headed to the scene, but Van didn't think twice about trying to save the child's life..

Van Anderson, "I didn't have time to think a lot I just knew that the child needed help."

Van says he never thought about his own safety. "So I just went down and luckily I was where I could get her out, bring her back to the street." 

On Wednesday, Fire Chief Phil Hyman presented Van with the "Citizen Achievement Award"  Chief Hyman noted a number of things could have gone wrong with a dangerous emergency situation like this one.

While Van was able to save the child's like, sadly, the child's mother didn't survive.

Van Anderson, "I went back to see if I could help the lady." But it was too late. "She said that's my momma, it was terrible.'

While, Van is thankful for the award and recognition.  He doesn't consider himself a hero.

"They are the true heroes, they deal with this everyday."