Monie R. Harris, Jr., helped to save Edna Fletcher from burning, Central City, Kentucky, November 15, 1961. When fire broke out at night in a rest home of frame construction, the staff began evacuating the patients. After flames filled the front end of the building, which contained 14 rooms, most of the elderly patients were removed through a utility room at the rear with the aid of other persons. The roof at the front end of the building caved in, and flames rose 60 feet. The woman in charge of the home screamed that some patients still were inside. Harris, 18, janitor, followed by a schoolboy, 16, entered the utility room and ran to a hall which was filled with dense smoke. Moving to within five feet of flames spreading in the hall, they reached a bedroom occupied by Mrs. Fletcher, 58 and another woman, 80. Because both women tended to wander at night, one foot of each had been tied to the bed with a nylon stocking. Harris and the schoolboy crawled into the room, where because of dense smoke breathing was possible only near the floor. Flames had burned through one corner of the room, and burning pieces of cardboard fell from the ceiling. Harris felt about on one of the beds and touched the tied foot of Mrs. Fletcher, who had slid down between the bed and the wall. Unable to tear the stocking, Harris burned it in two with his cigarette lighter. He and the schoolboy then moved the bed aside, took hold of Mrs. Fletcher and pulled her into the hall. Harris carried Mrs. Fletcher to the utility room, from where the schoolboy aided him in removing her from the building. A laborer, 40, then entered the utility room and crawled to the bedroom door three feet from the flames spreading in the hall. Crawling into the room, he found the other woman and used a knife to cut the stocking that held her. The laborer pulled the woman into the hall and carried her from the building. Two other women patients died in the fire. Firemen extinguished the flames, but only four rooms remained standing. Mrs. Fletcher recoverd but the other woman died following a heart attack on the way to the hospital.
45766 – 456645766-4566