Clackamas Firefighters Go for Gold With Teen Whose Life They Saved in 2019

Clackamas Fire District personnel will have the chance to meet a young man whose life they saved just a few months ago. The crews who responded to and performed the rescue will host 19-year-old Timm Wilson-Kreuger and his family to a firehouse lunch at 11:30 a.m. at the CFD’s Milwaukie Station No. 2.

A fire broke out at Wilson-Kreuger’s home on 38th Avenue last June. Firefighters arrived on the scene to find the sing-story home fully involved with an occupant — Timm — trapped inside.

Timm, who has Down syndrome and autism, had locked himself in a hallway bathroom when the fire started as the result of a cooking accident. After locating him, firefighters were able to make their way in low visibility and high heat conditions to a front window where he was lifted out and handed to a team of waiting first responders. Medical care was initiated before Timm was transported to an area hospital.

After extensive medical care, months in the ICU and continued rehabilitation, Timm has reached a point in his recovery where he is able to come and visit the crews who rescued him that day.

CFD Lt. Justin McWilliams, who was part of the search and rescue effort said, “Our mission is simple, ‘To safely Protect and preserve life and property.’ What makes this career so rewarding, is to see the impact we truly have on our public. We have built a relationship and amazing bond with Tammi, Kevin and Timm over the last six months, following a significant fire that almost took everything from the Wilson family.

“We get to celebrate Timm’s recovery together at the firehouse, which is less than a mile from the address that brought us all together.”

On Sunday, March 5th, on-duty and off-duty firefighters from Clackamas Fire attended the Winter Regional Basketball tournament that was put on by the Special Olympics of Oregon. What made this particular event so special? It was the celebration of 19-year-old Timm Wilson-Krueger’s gold medal win, a young man who was rescued by the same firefighters from a house fire back in June 2019.

Clackamas Fire crews were dispatched to a report that a house was on fire with occupants trapped inside. First arriving crews quickly made access to the home without the protection of a hose line to begin looking for the trapped individual. Firefighters were able to locate Timm, who had locked himself in the hallway bathroom when the fire started. In the few minutes, he waited to be rescued, the closed bathroom door was credited for creating a survivable space for Timm.

Timm, who is Down-syndrome and Autistic, ended up in the bathroom after becoming scared when an accidental cooking fire started in the kitchen. The firefighting team was able to make their way in low visibility and high heat conditions to a front window where Timm was lifted out and handed to a team of waiting firefighters. Medical care was initiated before being transported to an area hospital.

This past Sunday, crews made their way to root Timm Wilson-Krueger on as he participated in and took home the Gold medal at the Basketball tournament held by Special Olympics of Oregon. Captain Justin McWilliams, who was part of the search and rescue effort said at the time, “What makes this career so rewarding, is to see the impact we truly have on our public. We have built an amazing bond with this family, and it’s an honor to celebrate how far Timm has come after almost losing his life.”

During a short phone conversation this week, Tammi, Tim’s Mom, stated “We just love you guys! We have been blessed by your willingness to stay in touch and show your support for our family.”

Clackamas Fire is humbled to serve this family and all who need them. When they say “Here For You,” they mean it!

Timm Wilson-Krueger made a visit to the Clackamas Fire Station in Milwaukie on Tuesday. It was really meaningful for him, his family and for the firefighters who saved his life nearly 6 months ago.

An accidental kitchen fire set the house that Timm lived in with his mom and dad, Tammi and Kevin, ablaze on June 13. That night neighbors heard Tammi screaming her son was trapped inside.

When firefighters arrived they found Timm, who has autism and Down syndrome, locked in a hallway bathroom. They then lifted him out of a window where firefighters and emergency responders began treatment on him even before he was rushed to a hospital.

timm wilson_1560576181005.jpg.jpg
Timm Wilson Krueger was critically hurt in a 2-alarm house fire in Milwaukie, June 13, 2019 (Courtesy)
Tammi said Timm spent about 2.5 months in the hospital. “Doctors said it was the 2nd-worst smoke inhalation that they had seen.”

Her 19-year-old son was inside when the fire started, she said. “I stayed there and tried to get him to open the door for me and I kept running to his bedroom window to get fresh air and take a breath and run back.”


Finally, though, she had to leave.

Lt. Justin McWilliams with Clackamas County Fire District #1 was among the firefighters that went in to search for Timm.

This charred door was taken from a Milwaukie home after a June 13, 2019 fire. A teen was critically injured in the fire …
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“I was the lucky one that got to find Timmie behind a door,” McWilliams said. “That’s how we met.”

By that time the bathroom door was burning through, he said. “I just kind of bear-hugged him and started dragging him out,” he said.

The intense fire made McWilliams take Timm to a front side window. “We got him up on the bed. My crew met us out on the front side and we took him out the front window.”

Tammi ran to the front yard, not knowing if her son was alive. She told him to stay calm and let the emergency crews help him.

“At the scene he had particles, black stuff, in his mouth,” she said. “It was horrible.”

Teen with autism rescued from burning Milwaukie home
Tammi said if she had been able to get the bathroom door open, it’s probable both she and her son would have died.

Timm Wilson-Krueger was critically hurt in a June 2019 Milwaukie house fire. (Clackamas Fire Department)
“I said it was the hand of God, I said, that door kept me from going in there.”

The firefighters wanted to keep the door for training, and McWilliams said it’s at their fire station now.

“There’s a huge story behind it,” Lt. McWilliams said. “Those doors save about 5 minutes before burn-through. It definitely was a huge factor in saving his life.”

Lunch at the fire house

Since the blaze, the firefighters and Timm’s family have bonded.

“Those guys, when they saved Timm, they didn’t just save Timm. They saved our whole family,” Tammi said. “There are now words for what they’ve given us. Thank you does not even come close. They’re part of our family now.”

Timm Wilson-Krueger, center, and members of Clackamas Fire District #1 reunite months after the teen was critically injured in a Milwaukie house fire, December 10, 2019 (Clackamas Fire District #1)
Fighting tears, Lt. McWilliams said getting to know Timm and his family “really brought back a lot of emotion in my life. This job really makes it so you try to distance yourself from that kind of stuff. But I tell you, with us getting close to Tammi and Kevin and Timmie and stuff is, I think, good for our emotional lives, reconnecting to our purpose.”

Over the months they visited Timm in the hospital, but Tuesday was the first time Timm got to visit the firefighters at their station.

Timm Wilson-Krueger, center, and members of Clackamas Fire District #1 reunite months after the teen was critically injured in a Milwaukie house fire, December 10, 2019 (Clackamas Fire District #1)
Timm is a big fan of T-Rex. They gave him a t-shirt that reads, “Ask me about my T-Rex”, which has a picture of a T-Rex on the inside that can be pulled up over your face.

The firefighters all wore a T-Rex shirt, too, and gave him a giant Jurassic World poster.

“It’s just a really amazing relationship that we’ve built,” McWilliams said. Turning to Timm, he said, “We love you.”

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An 18-year-old boy with autism continues to recover after firefighters pulled him out of a burning home Thursday night in Milwaukie.

Firefighters responded to the 2-alarm fire just before 8 p.m. in the 9700 block of Southeast 38th Avenue.

Timm Wilson is in the hospital after a fire in his family’s Milwaukie home. (Courtesy of Wilson-Kruger family)
Neighbors told KOIN 6 News that they heard screaming and ran outside to find a woman yelling that her son was trapped inside of the burning building.

They said they tried to save the teen before fire officials arrived: they broke some windows in an attempt to reach him but the flames were too big and too hot.

“Just started kicking at the front door and it was too hot and flames were ripping through the windows,” neighbor David Chis told KOIN 6 News. “It seemed like a lost cause, but didn’t really want to give up with it being that someone was stuck in the house.”

A 2-alarm fire broke out at a home in Milwaukie, June 13, 2019. (Clackamas Fire)
Clackamas Fire said the young man was trapped inside the bathroom. Officials rescued him through a front window and said he survived because the closed bathroom door blocked the smoke and heat long enough for firefighters to reach him.

The teen — who was identified by his family as Timm Wilson — was taken to the hospital in critical condition. His aunt told KOIN 6 News on Friday he was still in critical condition but was stable.

Others on the scene were treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters said a power line fell on one of their trucks at the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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