Cedaredge fire hero appears on ‘Today Show’

J.D. TenNapel and his father James talk about what happened during the fire.  J.D. was caught in the wildfire after he drove an ATV to his neighbors to warn them.

It was quite a weekend for J.D. TenNapel.

The 15-year-old soon-to-be Montrose High School student rushed on an ATV to warn neighbors Friday afternoon as a fire erupted in his Timothy Road neighborhood in Cedaredge.

The blaze took out a barn and surrounded TenNapel, making his only route home a tunnel of flame that he raced through on the ATV, causing first- and second-degree burns to form on his right arm and leg, back and face.

TenNapel appeared in a live interview Sunday morning on NBC’s “The Today Show” while recovering at Delta County Memorial Hospital. His mother, Debbie, said the interview took place at 6 a.m.

“We were just quite shocked and amazed they contacted us,” she said.

Debbie, J.D., and his father, James, were interviewed on the program by “Sunday Today” co-anchor Jenna Wolfe, who asked J.D. how he felt about his risky efforts to warn others.

“All I was worried about was helping the neighbors ... I wasn’t really focused on myself, I was focused on getting them out safely,” J.D. responded.

Video of the segment is available at today.msnbc.msn.com.

Debbie TenNapel told the Daily Sentinel the reality of his heroism and the pain of his burns are starting to hit her son.

“He’s feeling it,” she said.

James TenNapel said his son might be moved soon to receive treatment for his burns in Texas.


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