Fire victim rescued

Published 8:55 am Tuesday, March 11, 2014

PENDLETON – Just a few minutes more and a local man may not be alive today to tell of his near-death experience.

However, thanks to the efforts of Northampton County firefighters, Kenneth Miggins was saved from a burning modular home here Thursday.

Conway fireman Jonathan Martin and Gaston Fire Chief Ed Porter Jr. are credited with saving a life as they, battling near zero visibility within a smoke-filled residence, located and pulled Miggins to safety.

“Anytime you can save a life, it’s a good day…it’s well worth all the training,” said Conway Fire Chief Joe Barrett.

And it was a pair of simultaneous training sessions at two different locations that played a key role in saving that life.

As luck would have it, members of the Conway Volunteer Fire Department and Severn Volunteer Fire Department were respectively conducting ladder, and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) training on Thursday evening. Porter was teaching the class for the Severn firefighters.

“We received the call at around 6:45 p.m. as we were receiving ladder instruction from William Babb,” Barrett said. “We were already at the station, as were the Severn firemen. That meant precious minutes were saved in our response times.”

Barrett said both departments arrived at the burning residence, owned by Lois Everette and located at 237 Edwards Town Street in Pendleton, at the same time.

Upon launching the attack, Conway fireman Bruce Davis and Severn firefighter Josh Britt grabbed a hose line and went in the front of the residence. Meanwhile, Conway Assistant Fire Chief Albert Vann attacked the blaze from the rear of the residence.

Using their hours of training for such an event, Martin and Porter – both equipped with protective gear and oxygen masks – began to slowly crawl their way through the thick smoke, each heading in opposite directions and calling out in an effort to locate the victim reportedly trapped inside.

It was Martin who located Miggins, finding him unconscious on the floor near a bathroom. Barrett said that Martin called out to Porter, and the two men were able to pull the victim to safety.

“They did a super job, performing the search and rescue just the way they’re trained to do,” Barrett said. “I’m really proud of all the firemen at the scene. Each of them performed the tasks they were assigned, all of which helped to save a life.”

Once outside, Miggins received immediate medical attention from Northampton County EMS and was transported to a local hospital.

“Anytime you have a residential fire, especially those where people are trapped inside, things can get out of hand very quickly,” Barrett noted. “Timing is critical. While we don’t like to see any type of structure catch on fire, this particular fire played to our advantage since we already had manpower at our station conducting training and likewise for the Severn firemen. The EMS crew told us if we hadn’t responded as quickly as we did, Mr. Miggins may not have survived.”

Barrett added that the fire started and was contained to the kitchen, but the home did suffer major smoke and water damage throughout.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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