Officer, neighbour brave fire to save woman

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SPRINGHILL – It was a tense time as smoke rolled out of a Church Street home.

Springhill police were notified of the fire and neighbours were waking each other, trying to decide what to do to help the lone occupant and her pet dog who were trapped on the second floor.

“The fire started just after 11 p.m. Tuesday [Nov. 20]. The officers had tried to go in the building to help get her down but the smoke was just too thick to move,” Springhill’s acting police chief Dean Ruddick said.

Across the street, David Coon was fast asleep but was awoken by one of his neighbours telling him there was a fire and the woman was trapped.

“You could see smoke coming out of every angle of the house and they were saying ‘Can you get a ladder? Can you get a ladder?’” Coon said. “You could see she was on the veranda roof with another person and a dog and she was obviously upset.”

With the aid of one of the officers the two rushed the ladder over only to find it was too short.

“What happened then, officer Robin Gilroy went up the ladder as high as he could and reinforce her safety, to let her know the fire truck is on it’s way. You could already hear the truck sirens coming,” Coon said.

What Coon didn’t know was who was the young man on the roof with the woman.

“I thought it might have been her son but it was Robbie [Rob] Henderson, Johnny Henderson’s son,” Coon said.

When Henderson had awoke that night the hunt for a ladder was still on. Seeing the woman was in need of help and reassurance, Henderson was boosted up to the veranda roof to assist his nieghbour from the smoke rolling out of her home and reassure her help was on the way.

“I was more nervous getting on the roof than I was about the fire,” Henderson said. “I had worked construction before, so I’m not afraid of heights.”

Once on the roof, Henderson aided the woman away from the smoke and played his role in helping her stay calm until the Springhill Volunteer Fire Department could aid her down and away from the burning home.

It took only minutes for the events to unfold before firefighters arrived but it was quick thinking of everyone involved during those tense minutes to keep that helped prevent the situation from becoming worse.

“What they did was nothing short of an act of bravery, in my opinion,” Coon said.

“I really don’t feel that way,” Henderson said. “I was just happy I could get up there, not fall and let her know she was going to be okay.”

The cause of the fire, acting police chief Ruddick aid, remains under investigation.

Organizations: Springhill Volunteer Fire Department

Geographic location: Church Street

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Recent comments

  • bruce f
    December 03, 2012 - 08:38

    that sounds like the robert that i know, great guy and obviously brave too. well done