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We almost lost a baby yesterday

It's been a really quiet year in fire activity around the area, which is -- of course -- a good thing. But the Chief left on a trip starting Wednesday, and that's a sure bet that something will happen.

I was on my way to the fire station -- to record "Glee", as there's a VCR there and I no longer have cable -- when the page went off. That allowed me to get there early and get the overhead doors open, which in return allowed the other guys to go straight in without having to mess with the electronic door lock. Although I was on the first truck out, that was pretty much the extent of my heroics.

If the staff of the Noble House hadn't acted quickly and properly, our little one hour incident would have been a four or five hour stand that would have destroyed the building. More importantly, it would have been a hard rescue or -- more likely -- a body recovery. It would have also meant a lifelong regret for the child's big brother.

Here's the story:

Noble House Ministry staff members are credited with saving a baby and controlling a fire that threatened their facility at 205 E. Highland Street Wednesday, September 16.

The infant's five year old brother admitted later that he starting the fire while playing with a lighter, according to the Albion Fire Department. The two were reportedly alone for less than ten minutes while a babysitter was nearby, but that was enough time for the boy to accidentally start a fire that burned some clothes, then spread to the crib's mattress and bedclothes. While the boy went looking for help, a Noble House staff member discovered the fire and rescued the sleeping infant. Staff members then controlled the flames with a fire extinguisher, evacuated the residents, and dialed 911.

Fire, police, and EMS units were dispatched at 7:19 p.m. in response to numerous 911 calls, and arrived to find a small smoldering fire, and smoke spreading through the one story building. One person was reportedly treated for difficulty breathing, but did not need to go to the hospital. Thanks to fast action by those inside, no other injuries were reported.

Albion firefighters hauled the smoldering crib outside, finished dousing the fire, and used a thermal imaging device to make sure it hadn't spread further. They also used fans to clear the smoke and an electronic monitor to make sure the air was safe before allowing anyone else inside. Fire damage was limited to the crib and a few belongings in one room, although some smoke damage was done to parts of the building.

Sixteen Albion firefighters responded, manning two engines and a rescue unit. Also assisting were units of the Albion Police Department, Noble County EMS, and Noble County Sheriff's Department. They returned to service at 8:23 p.m.

Noble House Ministries operates Noble House to assist in emergency housing for women and their children, and also run Pilot House, an emergency housing unit for men.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 17th, 2009 08:47 am (UTC)
There's nothing worse than a fire, my Grandmother went to school one day and the house burned down while she was there so she had only the clothes on her back.
Sep. 17th, 2009 10:47 am (UTC)
Some people say "stuff can be replaced, but people can't" ... most of those people have never lost all their stuff.
Sep. 17th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
WOW! The baby wasn't injured? That was really lucky!
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:37 am (UTC)
Not a scratch! A very lucky baby, indeed.
Sep. 17th, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow. I'm glad the baby is okay.
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:38 am (UTC)
Me too -- it was a very close thing.
Sep. 17th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
Thank God that staff member found the fire so quickly. And I think they need to take more care that things like lighters aren't accessible to the children. My older brother almost burned down our house when he was about four by playing with matches.
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:40 am (UTC)
I almost burned down our barn ... then my dad caught me, and once I could sit down again I decided playing with fire was something I could do without.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:41 am (UTC)
indeed, we all our -- that was the close call of close calls.
Sep. 17th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
So happy to hear things worked out.
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:42 am (UTC)
Me, too -- most of us didn't realize how close it was until we put the pieces together during the investigation.
Sep. 17th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
Scary stuff. I babysat a family once where the kids had previously lit a mattress on fire and threw it out the window. The mother omitted that fact but a friend of mine filled me in and thank goodness she did because I caught the kids with a lighter that had the safety taken off and they were supposed to be left alone for the last hour of the afternoon (older siblings watching the younger ones) and I refused to leave after seeing that.

Thank goodness the baby was okay!
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:44 am (UTC)
That's something you should have been updated on! We've got a very good fire prevention officer here; in addition to keeping a lot of fires from starting, by the time he's done talking to a child firestarter they generally tow the line.
Sep. 18th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
It was a weird family situation. The firestarter kid was the middle child. His older brother was good at everything, fairly tough and good at sports and was going to be handsome when he got older, middle brother not so much. He was the kid who was sent to away camp, cried every day, called home every day and was told to tough it out. Not a happy kid. His younger sister (who I was mostly babysitting) was adorable and already super self reliant at 5 (she would dress herself and wanted to make her own food every day - babysitting was super easy.)

So this kid's way of solving the problem was to be the problem child I guess and his family didn't want to deal with that imperfection in their life. I was never asked to babysit again after finding the lighter. Suited me fine, I didn't really want to deal with a house fire.
Sep. 20th, 2009 07:49 am (UTC)
Wow ... other than the fire starting, you pretty much just described me ...
Sep. 20th, 2009 08:29 am (UTC)
Glad you didn't turn out to be a firestarter as your way to get attention. I felt really bad for the poor kid, his parents clearly had no idea what to do with him and wanted him to be the same personality as his older brother and that wasn't happening. But from the point of view of the babysitter he was a lot of trouble. When I found the lighter (which the kid had dropped and his 5 year old sister had picked it up and started to play with it innocently... remember that the safety was removed...) the two brothers spent the remainder of the day thinking up stories of how they could pretend it was my lighter so they wouldn't get in trouble. Oh and the middle kid ran away for a bit and I had to chase him for many blocks until he stopped running and realized he had nowhere to go.

The mom was super embarrassed (she was trying to have that perfect looking family and I'd seen that they weren't perfect) and never hired me again. I was pretty glad of it. But that family is one of the ones I remember and I hope that middle kid turned out okay.
Sep. 21st, 2009 07:35 am (UTC)
They should have realized that no family is perfect, and hiding problems means they aren't dealt with. Sadly, there are many people like that out there.
Sep. 17th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
wow scary stuff
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:45 am (UTC)
Very scary, indeed.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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