Officers save woman from burning house
Published 10:25 am Thursday, February 27, 2014
FRANKLIN—Two Franklin police officers saved a woman from her burning house on Wednesday afternoon.
Officer Quentin Livingston and Sgt. Todd Lyons were out on Bracey Street for a domestic call when Livingston noticed smoke coming from 200 Bracey St.
“When I saw the smoke, my first thought was, ‘Was there someone in there?’” Livingston said. “When a citizen confirmed that there was, I just started thinking about how we were going to get her out.
“I never had second thoughts. There was a life at stake, and how can you weigh that risk?”
Livingston and Lyons ran to the house and when they opened the door they were met with thick smoke and flames.
“It was hot – extremely hot,” said Lyons. “And you could not see anything.
“There was just a large amount of smoke. All you could see was the flames and the light coming off it.”
They entered, ducked down and sought her. She was found on the couch in her living room unconscious.
“I just told Livingston that we needed to get to her,” Lyons said. “We got real low and kind of felt around until Livingston said he felt Mrs. [Magdeline] Jenkins. We picked her up and carried her out.”
Once they got her out, the officers discovered that she was not breathing and Lyons found that she lacked a pulse. Livingston immediately began performing CPR on the victim, and she regained consciousness within a few minutes.
While Livingston performed CPR, Lyons, having knowledge of this residence, believed a child might have been in the house. He reentered in an effort to locate the youth, but could not find a child. It was later learned that the youth had not been dropped off from school yet.
Livingston said the thought never crossed his mind to wait for the fire department to arrive.
“We do not go into a burning building every day,” he said. “But the preservation of life and public safety, we do that every day. So once you get at it, the training kicks in.”
“It becomes instinctual,” Lyons added.
The victim of the fire was Magdeline Jenkins, 56, who was originally taken to Southampton Memorial Hospital and was transferred to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment.
“Probably the most emotional moment for me was seeing her in the hospital, with her family all around her,” Livingston said.
“I’m just happy for her,” added Lyons. “I’m glad she is OK.”
Capt. Tim Whitt, department spokesman, said he was proud of them and the entire department.
“All of our officers work very hard to keep the community safe,” he said. “It’s a matter of us being in the right place at the right time for that lady. But it does not surprise me at all that we have officers who would run into a burning building, just because I know the caliber of officers we have in Franklin.”
Whitt said that while FPD officers have CPR training, they do not receive training, nor do they have the equipment to go into burning buildings.
“When a life is on the line, you do what you can to save them,” Whitt said.
Chief Phil Hardison said what the two officers did was exceptional.
“I am just grateful to have people who are dedicated to that type of service, the preservation of human life,” he said. “I am very proud of their efforts and their quick decision making. They put their lives in danger for the preservation of another human life, and that kind of conduct is exemplary.”