On Thursday, September 13, the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association (DVFA) recognized six area residents with the DVFA Citizen’s Recognition Award at their annual convention, held at the Dover Sheraton. The Mayor of Dover, who is a DVFA member and Chairman of the Citizenship Recognition Committee, Carleton Carey, presented the awards to the area residents in recognition of their heroism during an incident in Milford in late June.
“These citizens entered a home with heavy smoke, with no protective gear, and not only carried one of the resident’s to safety, but also eliminated an explosion risk,” Mayor Carey said in his remarks. “Because of the heroism of these men and women, the residents avoided a tragedy far worse than the loss of their home.”
On June 20, Tom Cahall, Shane Casper, Samantha Wright, Mike Edwards, Casey Sharp and Larry Jarrel were attending games at Milford Little League Park when Samantha Wright noticed smoke coming from a nearby home. She informed her stepfather, Mike Edwards, a Captain with Houston Volunteer Fire Company, who immediately radioed the information to emergency services, and the six citizens ran to the house to determine if anyone was inside.
They entered the building and found a male resident of the home coming down from the second floor. They instructed the man to go out the front door, when Shane Casper heard a woman yelling. Casey Sharp entered the room where the woman was lying in bed and picked her up, carrying her to safety. The woman, who was wheelchair bound, informed the rescuers that her wheelchair, oxygen tank and lifesaving medications were still in the home, and that she was unsure whether her grandchildren, who were staying with her, had escaped.
Mike Edwards went to the second floor to search for the children, who had escaped and were at a neighbor’s home, while the others were able to retrieve the oxygen tank, wheelchair and some of the medications before smoke in the lower level of the home became too thick for them to enter.
Carlisle Fire Chief, Bill Carpenter, said that the actions of these six people resulted in no life-threatening injuries to the family, and without their intervention, the outcome could have been much worse. The fire, caused by a faulty extension cord in a second floor storage room, was throughout the home by the time the fire company arrived. The home sustained over $125,000 in damages. Last August, the six individuals were also honored by the Carlisle Fire Company, the State of Delaware Senate and House of Representatives, Sussex County Council and Kent County Levy Court.