- Special Sections
- Public Notices
A Shelbyville woman is alive today thanks to some quick-thinking neighbors and heroic actions by firefighters.
Fonesha Thompson was released from Jewish Hospital Shelbyville after only a brief stay for treatment for smoke inhalation, but it could have been tragic if her neighbors had not heard her smoke alarm going off and called 911, and if firefighters had not got to her in time, fire officials said.
“When we got there, the people that heard the smoke alarms going off told us they thought she was in there because she is normally home at that time,” Shelbyville Assistant Fire Chief Chris Spaulding said.
Firefighters received the call of smoke coming from an apartment at 314 Cherrywood Drive at 9:07 p.m. Tuesday, and Spaulding said when the department’s safety officer, John Butler, looked in the window of the apartment, and saw a pot smoking on the stove in the kitchen, he told the rest of the crew, who started looking in windows, also.
That’s when Christopher Miller saw Thompson lying on the couch.
“So he went and grabbed the tools, and they started trying to force the door, but they couldn’t get it open with the forcible-entry tools so they just opted for the old school way and kicked it in,” Spaulding said.
“Sergeant Miller and a couple of other guys just snatched her up and carried her out,” he said.
Thompson was breathing, but awaiting EMS personnel couldn’t wake her up, so they started giving her oxygen and transported her to JHS, Spaulding said.
He said that when Thompson revived at the hospital, she said she didn’t hear the smoke alarms going off because she was exhausted because she had been working hard and hadn’t had much sleep, he said.
He said the food on the stove had all burned out, but the pot was heavy, so it didn’t catch on fire.
“It didn’t burn the apartment, fortunately,” he said. “Years ago we had a similar fire that burned itself out, but the gentleman passed away because of smoke inhalation.”
Spaulding said Thompson is fine and has no injuries other than smoke inhalation, which can be deadly.
“That’s why we were concerned when we saw her in there, because smoke can get you really quickly,” he said. “The smoke can get you way before the fire.”
Thompson was lucky, he said, because she received help very quickly.
“I am just proud of our crew for their quick response and rapid extrication of the patient,” he said. “We train all the time for things like this, and it was just textbook. Everything worked out great.”