Granite City teenager saves neighbor’s life after fall from ladder

Ruben Murphy, 14, was home on spring break when he heard his neighbor screaming for help.
Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 9:57 PM CDT
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GRANITE CITY (KMOV) - A 14-year-old Granite City teenager is being recognized for his heroic efforts after coming to the aid of his injured neighbor.

Ruben Murphy was in his front yard headed to a friend’s house when he said he heard something strange.

“We were standing there about to leave and I hear screaming,” Murphy said. “I’m thinking, this is weird. It was faint, quiet screaming.”

He soon realized it was coming from two doors down at his neighbor Bob Lickenbrock’s house.

Lickenbrock was standing on an aluminum step latter, fixing the gutters along his house when he said he became briefly distracted.

“When I did, I slipped and I fell over and I landed on top of it and it cut a huge gash in my leg,” he said.

Lickenbrock said much of the skin on his shin was missing and he was bleeding heavily. He looked up and saw Murphy peering over the backyard fence and began calling out.

“I saw Ruben on the other side of the fence and started yelling for him to come over because I needed some help,” he said.

Murphy said he ran to his next-door neighbor’s house for help, but no one answered. Then, he ran to Lickenbrock’s backyard to see what was going on.

“I could see him sitting on a chair and his leg was pretty messed up,” Murphy said. “I went inside and called 911 and then I went into his laundry room and got a towel and I went back to him and made a tourniquet around his leg.”

Lickenbrock said he was amazed at Murphy’s ability to multi-task, on the phone with 911 while wrapping his leg and applying pressure to the wound.

“It wasn’t like I was sitting there instructing him on what to do next, he just knew like it was automatic,” he said.

Minutes later, the two began hearing sirens.

Ruben Murphy and Bob Lickenbrock pose together after reuniting more than a week after...
Ruben Murphy and Bob Lickenbrock pose together after reuniting more than a week after Lickenbrock's accident.(Chris Mitchell | Chris Mitchell/Granite City School District)

“If he had not been on spring break, I don’t know what I would have done,” Lickenbrock said. “I probably would have thrown a rock at my neighbor’s window to get their attention.”

Doctors at BJC spent four hours treating the cut to his leg, which required at total of 69 stitches.

On Tuesday night, the Granite City School District honored Murphy with an award for his heroic actions.

“It felt pretty good actually,” Murphy said. “It felt amazing.”

Murphy credits his first-aid skills to many years as a cub scout and another scout camp he attended a few years ago.

“I just reacted,” he said. “I knew if I didn’t help him he was going to lose his leg.”