City firemen, paramedics, police officers recognized for July 10 ‘act of heroism’

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

July 8, 2007 - An overflow crowd packed the Sulphur Springs City Council Chambers Tuesday night to give a standing ovation to the city's firefighters, police officers and paramedics who helped avert what could have been a "tragic incident."

Sulphur Springs Mayor Yolanda Williams read the proclamation "recognizing these heroic efforts" of the group that rescued JoAnn Kelly from a fire at her East Beckham Street home on July 10.

Those honored from Sulphur Springs Fire Department included Assistant Fire Marshal Eric Hill, Capt. Scott Isham, driver Jay McKee, and firefighters Allen Johnson, Mackey Maxwell and J. Hettich.

Police recognized were Lt. Gina Lyles, Sgt. William Mayeux and Officer Matt Glenn, along with paramedics Chris Shoemate and Richie Dudley.

The teams were sent to the Kelley home after the fire was reported that afternoon. The officers arrived first to find smoke coming from the house, while a neighbor told them Kelley was still inside the residence.

The fire teams arrived to find heavy smoke from the fire. Hill and Maxwell entered the burning building and began searching for the fire, while Isham and Johnson went in to search for Kelley.

Outside, McKee took command of the scene and was assisted by Hettich with pumping operations. Hill soon reported that the fire was under control, and Isham reported that Kelley had been found.

Isham, Johnson and Mawell pulled her from the home and helped the paramedics get her into an ambulance. She was taken to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital and later Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler for treatment of life-threatening injuries.

"These courageous life saving acts, though in the line of duty, in averting what could have been a tragic incident or loss to family, friends and community was an act of heroism that deserves special recognition by the governing body of this city," Mayor Williams said, reading from the proclamation.

The crowd then stood as one and applauded the team of heroes. Williams then asked Kelley — who was also in the audience — to stand and be recognized, and again the audience applauded.

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