Several Southern Pines firefighters were recognized at the end of January for saving a woman’s life.
Captain Tim Smith received a life-saving medal, Lieutenant Asa Bailey received a heroism metal, Lieutenant Logan DeBerry received a life-saving medal, firefighter Justin Taylor received a heroism metal, driver/operator John Wilson received a heroism metal, firefighter Kaylee Jones received a heroism metal, firefighter spencer Fallin received a life-saving medal, and firefighter Matt Manovsky received a heroism metal, announced the Town of Southern Pines in a press release.
In the early morning of July 4, 2022, the Southern Pines Fire Department and Aberdeen Fire Department, Cypress Pointe Fire and Rescue, Pinehurst Fire Department, Whispering Pines Fire Department, and Moore County EMS were dispatched to McNish Road in the Talamore Community for a structure fire.
While en route, units were advised by the 911 center that a male resident was on the phone and had escaped the fire through a rear bedroom door. However, he could not account for his wife, and the last time he had seen her, she was in the living room. The caller also advised the 911 center that the fire was in the living room.
Upon the arrival of Southern Pines Engine 812, they reported nothing showing from the exterior, and the husband was in the front yard. While firefighter Fallin deployed an attack line to the front door, Captain Smith confirmed with the husband that his wife was still inside the burning house.
As they approached the front door, they could see smoke and fire inside the house. However, the door was locked, so Lieutenant DeBerry used forcible entry tools to force the door open and gain access to the house. As they entered the house, they encountered heavy fire, high heat, and zero visibility due to the thick smoke conditions in the living room. The fire was extending to the left of the house toward the kitchen and also spreading to the right toward the bedrooms.
Southern Pines firefighters Jones and Manovsky pulled a second attack line due to the fire conditions and entered the structure with Lieutenant Bailey. Due to being short-staffed, both crews simultaneously conducted a fire attack and a primary search for the victim. Engine 822 completed a search of the living room and then conducted a left hand search toward the kitchen, and engine 812 conducted a right-hand search toward the bedrooms.
During the fire attack and search, driver/operator Wilson and firefighter Taylor established a hydrant connection for water supply and provided additional equipment for ventilation of the heat and smoke. In the first bedroom that Captain Smith came to, he located an unconscious female lying face down on the floor after it appeared that she had gotten out of bed and was overcome by smoke. Captain Smith called for assistance from Lieutenant DeBerry and firefighter Fallen, who were in the hallway outside the bedroom. Firefighter Fallin and Lieutenant DeBerry entered the bedroom and worked to carry the victim outside to safety. Due to the limited visibility, Captain Smith lead the crew down the hall by maintaining one hand on the wall and one hand on the firefighters, guiding them to the doorway. The victim was taken to the front yard, where she was turned over to Moore County EMS.
The male and female patients were treated by Moore County EMS and transported to the hospital. Crews returned to the house to ensure that the fire was extinguished and there were no other victims.
Other Southern Pines personnel who responded included Deputy Fire Chief Ted Horvath, Fire Chief Mike Cameron, firefighter Jay Hough, and Assistant Chief Ken Skipper.