Quick-acting passerby helps fire department save family’s home and Christmas

December 22nd, 2020     Featured General News

The New Albany Fire Department was dispatched about 12:30 a.m. Monday morning for fire and smoke coming from a home at 414 South Central.

“We were en route and on scene in just under three minutes,” Fire Chief Mark Whiteside said. “On arrival, we found a home with quite a lot of fire coming from the roof and attic.”

Crews made entry and entered the attic and brought the fire under control.

“The home suffered a lot of fire damage from the ceiling up,” Whiteside said. “The fire was just beginning to make it into the living area of the home. Due to this there was some smoke damage and water damage to certain portions of the home.”

However, the most notable point in this incident, though, is the actual outcome versus what could have been, he said.

“This incident played out like this. The fire in the attic was spreading and was burning aggressively. It had not gotten into the living portions of the home where the resident was still sleeping unaware that the upper level of the home was burning and weakening the structure,” the chief said.

Since it had not made its way into the main floor where smoke alarms were, the smoke alarms had not activated yet.

“A young man named Kalob Adair was driving by and saw the fire and called 911,” Whiteside said. “The 911 operator had the fire department and New Albany Police units headed that way immediately.”

PD units arrived on scene just before fire units and the PD officers beat on the doors to alert the resident, which they were successful in doing.

“The safety of this resident is good news due to the early phone call of Kalob Adair and the quick response of PD units to alert the resident, and the quick response along with the fire department,” Whiteside said. “At that time of night the fire personnel were in bed asleep, so for them to get up, get dressed, get the trucks en route, and then be on the scene in just under three minutes is awesome.”

“When we arrived on scene the crews verified from the resident everyone was out of the home, and by this time we could hear the smoke alarms going off, so they were working,” Whiteside continued.  “The smoke had just not reached them yet.”

The fire had just started to make its way to the main floor as crews entered.

“My whole view of the incident is this: It was meant for Kalob Adair to be at that location at that time,” Whiteside said. “911 crews did an exceptional job at getting us going, and the information they were giving us was really good, the Police officers that made it there before us did an outstanding job of getting the resident awake and out and kept the scene blocked for us to do what we had to do.”

Light, gas, and water arrived quickly and were able to disconnect electricity, and by all this, it gave fire crews the opportunity to end a fire that could have been so much worse on life and property, the chief added.

Crews were on the scene for about two and a half hours, proud to report no injuries. “So much personal property and Christmas gifts were saved, so this one has an ending that turned out as good as it did due to a lot of people being in the right place at the right time,” Whiteside concluded.

The cause of the fire appears to be electrical in the attic.

Photos courtesy of Chief Mark Whiteside

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