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An off-duty firefighter who happened to be passing a burning house Monday afternoon fought flames and smoke without protective gear to help locate and rescue a man and his grandson caught inside.
“I opened the front door, and I had to get down low to get underneath the smoke, and when I yelled out, ‘Is anybody inside?’ I was shocked when somebody called out, ‘Yes!’”
So Marc Myres of the Shelby County Fire Department did what any firefighter would do, he battled through the blaze and smoke to find the residents.
The only difference is that Myres wasn’t on duty.
He was on his way home when he spotted the house fire at 77 Clifton Court, and Shelbyville Fire Chief Willard “Tiger” Tucker, whose department responded to the alarm, said 77-year-old David Jones and his 4-year-old grandson owe their lives to Myres, who rescued them from a blaze that eventually gutted their home off Zaring Mill Road, just south of Shelbyville.
“Tragedy was averted by Myres’ efforts as he removed the people prior to the firefighters’ arrival,” Tucker said.
Jones was not injured, but the child was taken to Kosair Children’s Hospital.
Doug Herndon, a captain with the Shelbyville Fire Department, said the little boy was released from the hospital Monday after being treated for smoke inhalation.
“He is doing OK,” Herndon said.
Wearing just his street clothes and no protective gear, Myres took action when found out someone was still inside the burning house.
“I got down under the smoke, and then I could see him [Jones] sitting in a chair,” he said.
Once he got to Jones, Myres found out that Jones’ grandson was also in the room.
“I reached and grabbed him,” Myres said.
Once he had pulled them out to the front porch, Myres said Jones wanted to go back in and get his eyeglasses, but he wouldn’t let him.
“We never let anyone go back in for anything,” Myres said, adding that the smoke was really thick at that time.
Myres said when he first saw the blaze, he called 911 to report it, but he didn’t think anyone was at home. Still, he had to make sure, he said, so he tried the front door, found it unlocked and opened it, and smoke rolled out.
He said he wasn’t scared or nervous when he heard someone calling out to him from inside the burning structure.
“I just knew I had to get them out,” he said.
The report on the incident said the fire started in a back bedroom and listed the cause of the fire as the child playing with a cigarette lighter.
The street was blocked off for several hours as firefighters battled to bring the blaze under control, but the incident did not cause any problems for school buses, according to Duanne Puckett, public relations coordinator for Shelby County Public Schools.
Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Whitman said that was because school buses don’t come down Clifton Court because it is a private drive, instead letting children off at its intersection with Zaring Mill.
Herndon agreed that Jones and his grandson owe their lives to Myres’ heroic actions: “Marc Myres, he got them out of the house.”