Off-Duty Fireman Saves Neighbor From Fire

Blind Parker County woman says fire marshal and volunteer firefighter took charge

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A blind Parker County woman says she owes her life to her neighbor and Assistant Fire Marshal Frank Watson. (Published Wednesday, Feb 13, 2013)

    A blind Parker County woman says a neighbor who happens to be an arson investigator saved her life when her home caught fire Monday night.

    "I smelled smoke," said Terri Wood, who was home alone. "When I opened up my bedroom door is when I really started choking. I immediately closed it and called 911."

    Her stove had caught fire. Her home was quickly filling with smoke. She was trapped in her bedroom.

    Parker County Assistant Fire Marshal Frank Watson arrived in just two minutes.

    "My phone started going off," Watson said. "I got text messages and calls simultaneously."

    Watson, also is a volunteer fireman, happens to live just blocks away from Wood.

    "I wasn't expecting the fire department here that fast," she said.

    Watson said he heard her screaming, saw her through a window and ran inside.

    "When I went in the house, there was thick, dark, gray smoke from floor to ceiling," he said.

    Wood said she has been blind for several years because of severe diabetes.

    In the thick smoke, he couldn't see either.

    "I took a deep breath, got as low as I could," Watson said.

    Wood said he took charge, told her to take a deep breath and cover her face with her sweatshirt.

    "He got in front of me.," she said. "He held my hand. I had my face covered and we headed this direction," she said, pointing to the front door.

    It was hard to breath, Watson said.

    "She started to get overcome by the smoke, started coughing," he said. "She was unable to go any further. I actually had to pull her the rest of the way out."

    Wood said she has no doubt he saved her life.

    "As thick as the smoke was, if I had tried to come out on my own, I would have never made it to my front door," she said.

    Outside, with a little oxygen, she was just fine.

    "I truly feel him coming the way he did has given me a second chance at life," she said.

    Watson is humble.

    "I think any public servant that takes the oath would have done the same thing if they had been presented that situation," he said.

    Wood said she doesn't know how to say thank you.

    "There are no words," she said. "They haven't made a word in the English language to describe the thanks you feel, but you feel that thanks from the very depths of your soul. And you just thank God that he put someone like that on this earth."