SALUTE OUR HEROES: Fire captain recovering from crash ready to return

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 10:28 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - For Topeka Fire Dept. captain Ty Forshee, being a firefighter has been a passion of his for decades. Forshee has been with the Topeka Fire Department for 21 years, and plans to be there for at least another ten.

His journey began at a young age, when he observed his father as a firefighter and wanted to follow in his footsteps. “My father was a firefighter [in Topeka] for 31 years,” Forshee said. Forshee started his career as a 15-year-old at an Explorer Post, eventually working as a dispatch officer for two years, working at the Mission Township Fire Department for four years, then moving his focus to the Topeka Fire Department, where he has been for the past two decades.

However, as he was working on the scene of an accident one icy morning, a near-fatal incident occurred. On January 12, 2023, Forshee was working a rollover accident on westbound I-470 at the Huntoon street exit at the bottom of its embankment. While he was working at the scene, he walked up the embankment to the interstate after hearing two more accidents occur, only then realizing the danger he was in. As he stood adjacent to the interstate, another vehicle slid out of control, hitting Forshee seriously injuring him.

“I had my driver with me and he was yelling ‘Car, car, car!’ I looked up and [the car] was right here,” Forshee recalled. “That’s the last thing I remember. I woke up in an ambulance and I’m glad one of the paramedics jumped in the ambulance with us and was taking care of me because it was someone that I recognized when I woke up because it was very surreal. Then I went to Stormont Vail and was taken care of there.”

After his interview with 13 NEWS, he said he was nearly inches from death. Instead, he suffered a broken leg and clavicle. Forshee was released from the hospital only two days later.

As he recovered from his injuries, he received support from the community. “There are no words,” Forshee said. “One of the other captains came in and actually built a wheelchair ramp for me. A lot of other people provided us with dinner for almost three weeks in a row and when you’re hurt and everything is going on, that was one of the greatest things and I’ve had a lot of my friends and co-workers from the department stop by and check on me and it’s been wonderful.”

Forshee’s injuries are continuing to heal. He is no longer wearing casts nor in a wheelchair, but is going through physical therapy. He hopes to return to work in less than one month.