Firkle ‘saves the day’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 3, 2007

MURFREESBORO – Luck was on their side.

Both fire and police officials agree Murfreesboro Police Officer Chris Firkel prevented the worse for a group of Chowan University students here when a fire broke out in the back of their rental home.

On Tuesday just after midnight, a neighborhood was lit up by the lights of emergency vehicles as the Murfreesboro Volunteer Fire Department and Murfreesboro Police responded to 407 Sewell Street.

Firkel had been on patrol when he noticed smoke and flames coming from the home.

Chowan student Brittany Blow, 20 of Suffolk, Va., said she was visiting the home when Firkel alerted those inside.

“(He) knocked on the door and said there were flames coming from the roof,” she said. “We didn’t even know there was a fire.”

According to Murfreesboro Fire Chief Bryant Cook, the fire appeared to have originated near an outside light on the back porch.

Cook added the cause was probably electrical in nature and because the fire was caught early on it was easy for fire personnel to extinguish the flames.

He noted there was some damage on the porch and in the rafters of the attic, but said the fire could have been a lot worse.

“They’re lucky (Firkel) caught it in the early stages,” he said.

Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe echoed Cook’s comments and commended Firkel for his actions.

“I’m very proud of him,” Rowe said. “He did what all officers strive to do, save innocent people’s lives.”

On Wednesday, one of the three residents who rent the home, Leon Waddell, was waiting for North Carolina Dominion Power crew to restore electricity to the house.

Evidence of the fire still lingered, from the smell of smoke the students were trying to rid with open windows to the scorched siding on the back porch and gaping hole exposing the attic.

Waddell, 21 of Portsmouth, Va., said he and his friends were about to go to bed when they were notified about the fire.

“I didn’t even know about (the fire),” he said. “I had no clue.”

Waddell agreed that he and his friends were fortunate Firkel was in the area.

Waddell said the house is owned by the Brown’s Mobile Home Sales, which also has a home rental office.