Fenton woman survives fire at seniors home thanks to quick-thinking security guard

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FENTON, Mo. – A woman gets a scare but survives a fire at a home for seniors in Fenton. There’s something she’d like to give the man who put out the fire.

Friendship Village resident Gloria King says it could have been a disaster. She lives alone. She’s on oxygen.

About eight weeks ago, she had a kitchen fire. Before she could even get worried or scared a hero showed up at the door.

“Fire in a residence” is among the worst fears for the close to 700 people who live at Friendship Village, as well as their families and the staff.

On the afternoon of Dec. 12, the day of a drive-thru Christmas parade for so many who are so isolated in this COVID-19 pandemic, security officer Brandon Soehngen was just getting to work.

King was enjoying chocolate chip cookies that had just come in the mail. She put the box on the electric stove without realizing she bumped it and turned a burner on.

“I turned this way and said, ‘Oh my gosh! Fire! Fire!’” she said. “It went up boy and I just grabbed my cookies and ran.”

“I walk (through) the door. Our fire panel’s going off,” Soehngen said. “Our manager looks at me and tells me there’s a fire … she’s on oxygen so that could have been a lot worse.”

Soehngen ran straight for her room, grabbing a fire extinguisher, putting on PPE, then putting out the flames.

“He came quickly. He put out the fire. He got me out the apartment quickly before I hardly knew what was going on,” King said.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Fenton firefighters gave Soehngen an award plus a gift card and commemorative coin for his actions. Though he was just doing his job, he admits the residents make him feel like he’s working among friends.

It’s more than that now for Gloria King who can’t wait for the pandemic’s end so she can reward Soehngen with a hug and maybe one of those cookies.

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