I sincerely hope everyone remains healthy and doing fine, despite the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest that continues in areas around the country. In our community, we seem to be holding quite steady, with continued signs of most of us doing what we can to remain healthy and at peace. I applaud everyone’s continued positive efforts!

Having said that, I wish to share a local story of heroism that demonstrates the spirit of good will and civility found in our community.

In the early hours of Friday, June 5, I was called to investigate a structure fire in progress involving a single family dwelling on South 10th Street. At approximately 2:39 a.m., I arrived on-scene to find firefighting operations well underway, and specifically at the rear of the house. When the fire was brought under control, I began fire investigation procedures, which included a thorough examination of the fire scene and interviewing any and all dwelling occupants and witnesses. Investigation findings revealed that the structure fire began at the rear of the house, and was rapidly making its way to the occupant’s bedroom at the front of the house – at floor level and through the attic. Investigation further revealed that there had been two occupants asleep in the home at the time of the fire – the homeowner, an elderly gentleman who was wheelchair-bound, and his loving female companion.

Enter our hero. At approximately 2:14 a.m., a young man was comfortably asleep in his own home to the immediate north of the fire involved structure – this young man is Andrew Campbell. Andrew explained to me that as he was sleeping, he was suddenly awoken by the sound of “sizzling and popping and the smell of something burning.” Andrew further explained that he got out of bed to find out what was going on, only to find that his neighbor’s house was on fire, with “huge flames shooting out the back side of the house.”  

It was at this time that Andrew Campbell called 911 to report the fire, and made the decision to take action.  Andrew stated that once he was outside, he noticed that no one was present outside of the home. Acting without regard for his own personal safety, Andrew ran up to the front door of his neighbor’s home and began “pounding on the door” and yelling for the occupants.

In moments, the female occupant of the house opened the door and a tremendous amount of smoke came rushing out. (Note: In the world of firefighting, this particular time in a fire’s evolution is extremely dangerous for anyone present.) The woman told Andrew that the male owner of the house was wheelchair-bound and needed help to get out of the house. And, once again, demonstrating no fear and disregarding his own personal safety, Andrew ran into the house and, locating the male subject in his bedroom, Andrew picked the man up and carried him to safety outside the burning home, and retrieved the man’s wheelchair.

Clearly, but for Andrew Campbell’s unselfish heroic actions, this story could have had a very tragic ending.  However, I’m pleased to report that the occupants of the involved structure are well and doing fine, and so is our hero, Andrew Campbell – there were no injuries sustained by anyone!

In the midst of the turmoil plaguing society right now, I sincerely hope this true story of unselfish heroism and civility helps to bring a sense of hope and peace to your everyday world.

In closing, and in light of the story above, I sincerely hope that you've been reminded of the fact that you are the person most responsible for your own life-safety, and the life-safety of your loved ones. As such, I want to remind you of the importance of maintaining smoke alarms/detectors in your home and how important it is to test them at least once a year. Should you have any questions, please contact the Office of the Fire Marshal at greg.molinar@murrayky.gov, or call 270-762-0321.

Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.

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