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Assistant Fire Marshall Saves Blind Neighbor From Fire

By Joel Thomas CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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WEATHERFORD (CBS 11 NEWS)  – A blind Weatherford woman now has two very important new friends. One is an Assistant Fire Marshal, the other is a dispatcher new to her job.

Parker County Assistant Fire Marshal Frank Watson had met the woman he would later save – in fact he lived near her.

“I met her once before when I worked for the Weatherford Police Department and I had actually taken her back home,” Watson said. “So I knew where she lived.

Dispatcher April Baldwin was covering 9-1-1 calls for only the tenth time in her short career, Monday night, when the call came in just before 10:30 p.m.

“And I answered the phone and you could tell the caller was choking a little bit from the smoke,” Baldwin recalled.

(credit: CBS 11 News)

(credit: CBS 11 News)

Another emergency worker called Watson who was off duty.

“They told me that they had a report of a house on fire and she was trapped in the house,” Watson said. “I just grabbed my keys and my boots and ran out the door.”

“She couldn’t breathe and there was a lot of smoke in the house,” Baldwin said. “My first initial thought was to get her out of the house. But then she told me she was legally blind.”

Now, the new dispatcher had a new set of problems.

“First i told her to get low on the ground, under the smoke,” Baldwin said. “I asked her if she could go to the door and feel the back of the door and see if it was hot but she was on the other side of the room and didn’t feel comfortable. So, then I asked her about windows. Could she get to a window and open up a window? And she was able to do that and get some fresh air.”

“I pulled up and she had her head out the window trying to breathe and she was yelling for help,”  Watson said. “I opened the front door. A lot of smoke came out the front door. I still couldn’t see where the fire was. So, I knew then I had a shot without injuring her to go in and rescue her that way. I told her to get a deep breath and that we were headed for the front door and started helping her out of her bedroom. She made it out of the bedroom and got into the living room before she started couging uncontrollably and couldn’t breathe. So I had to pull her the rest of the way out of the house.”

(credit: CBS 11 News)

(credit: CBS 11 News)

By now, the call to Baldwin had ended.

“You get a pit in your stomach because I can only do so much on this end,” Baldwin said.

Watson gave the woman oxygen he had in vehicle. She’d been rescued unharmed. Her modest rescuers say, its all in a day’s work.

“We always want the best, hope for the best, and we got the best,” Baldwin said.

“Training or not, you would have done the same thing,” Watson said matter of factly. “Its just somebody had to do something fast and I was there.”

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