Firefighters injured in morning blaze - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters injured in morning blaze

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June 20, 2005

Thomasville- Two firefighters are recovering from injuries sustained in a house fire in Thomasville. Fortunately, they're expected to make a full recovery. It happened around 7:00 Monday morning on South College Street. The family's house and all their belongings were completely destroyed.

"I heard something sound like it was popping and crackling, letting off a rattling noise. I came in the living room, and as I approached the living room I smelled smoke," says resident Howard Clemens. That's how a devastating fire began for Clemens and his family early Monday morning. "It was unbearable. It was unbearable," he says.

Clemens, his fiance, and ten other relatives lost everything- from the items in their kitchen to those in their living room. "Everything that was in it is either water damaged or burned," he says. Clemens didn't bother trying to save anything in either room. He had only one mission during the fire, and he accomplished it. "All the time I had was to get everybody out of the house. That was my main concern," says Clemens.

A charred lawnmower on the back deck is a small indicator of how severe the fire was. But it was much hotter inside the house. That's where two firefighters were hurt. "We had one firefighter with a burn to his neck, and a firefighter with a back injury," says Thomasville Fire Chief Bryan Croft.

Both firefighters have been treated and released from Archbold Hospital. "I don't know their work status as of yet," says Croft. Each of those firefighters put Clemens' status at hero for saving his family's lives. "That enabled us to focus more on the fire, instead of life safety," says Croft.

But Clemens is giving the firefighters all the credit for saving his life. "They went above and beyond the call of duty," he says. He adds that they arrived before the smoke overcame him. "Instead of getting clothes out, you would have been getting bodies out," says Clemens. That's they best possible outcome of a fire officials believe was sparked by faulty wiring.

The Red Cross says it will help Clemens and his family with clothes, food, and even shelter if necessary.

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