Firefighters protect bedridden resident during fire

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WEST ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-An overnight fire had St. Louis firefighters fearing the worst, early Saturday morning. Flames were headed for the roof line in a house full of people, including an elderly disabled man. Still, firefighters saved the house on Parkland Place in North St. Louis.

That disabled man never had to leave home.

“It could have been tragic.  It could have been tragic,” said Captain Garon Mosby of the St. Louis Fire Department.  “The best thing to do here is shelter him in place.  We can keep him there safely then attack the fire, thus eliminating the danger.  That’s what they did.  They took a charged hose line to the third floor, aggressive interior attack.”

The fire started in a third floor bedroom around 3:00 A.M., which was right where firefighters stopped it.

“It extended just slightly into the ceiling,” Mosby said.

Firefighters did it all while standing guard over Dallas Cox, 81, and her disabled husband who were downstairs. They’d been married 41 years she said. They never had to leave their home, even when it was on fire.

“We did stay there and made sure that he was safe; sort of like staying at the ready,” Mosby said.

Firefighters did evacuate two adults – along with a 16 year old and a 10 year old.

Careless smoking the suspected cause, Mosby said.

“Smoking in bed, or smoking, or carless with smoking materials, is the leading cause of fatal fires in our country. So, we’re very fortunate here, particularly combined with not having functioning smoke alarms.

Cox called the firefighters’ response a blessing.

It did not end with putting out the fire.  Firefighters installed 3 smoke detectors before they left.  The house was not only still “livable”, but also safer than it was before residents woke up to what seemed to be a tragedy in the making.

“Waking up is great, if you wake up, but with no alarming system – lucky, very lucky,” Mosby said.

City residents who do not have working smoking detectors can simply call the fire department at (314) 533-3406 to have firefighters bring new smoke detectors to their homes and install them – for free, Mosby said.

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