Teachers, neighbors come to rescue in fire
Published: March 15, 2007 | 5777th good news item since 2003
The cry for help went out Monday morning, and people came running.
When fire erupted at 3116 38th St. NW, Marissa Robinson found herself on the roof of the garage, calling for help. Teachers and staff at William R. Day Little Eagle Kindergarten Center heard her shouting, as did neighbors.
Robinson, 20, wasn’t on the roof for long.
At first, Jane Shem, a teacher arriving for work at 7:45 a.m., thought kids were playing. When the cries for help became more intense, she wondered if a child had been hurt at a nearby bus stop.
Then, she saw Robinson.
HELP ON THE WAY
Shem dropped her school books and ran toward the house. She called for help on her cell phone as she ran. Fellow teachers Chris Perillo, Debbie Rainieri and Terry Hartley followed.
They opened the garage door, but too much smoke kept them from going inside. They called the school and asked Pat House to have custodian Bob Clubb bring a ladder.
A neighbor, meanwhile, climbed up on the garage roof with Robinson and gave her his coat.
Clubb arrived with the ladder and got Robinson down. But the rescue wasn’t finished.
Plain firefighter Jack Patterson, who was off-duty, was driving past and stopped to help. He was told that a dog and cat were in the house, so he went looking.
Patterson opened a door and the dog ran out of the house. The cat was lying on the landing at the door. Patterson scooped it up, but had to revive the animal by giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Shem called the rescue a team effort. “It worked out so well, because everyone jumped in and helped.”
A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
When kindergartners arrived, a multitude of fire trucks and emergency vehicles greeted them. The fire became a learning experience for the children, Shem said.
“We were able to explain what happened and that everyone was OK,” Shem said. “They were happy no one was hurt.”
Robinson did have to go to Mercy Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Investigators determined the fire started in the kitchen, but still hadn’t figured out the exact cause. Damage to the house was estimated at $3,000.
Fire Chief John A. Sabo noted that the house had three smoke detectors, but all had battery problems and weren’t working when the fire broke out.
Sabo praised the quick action by civilians and said that Robinson was fortunate to get out to the roof. But he added, “early notification from working smoke detectors would have allowed her to go out the front door to safety.”