Robert Seth Ludington, Kenya D. Betty, and Jacob D. Kirinovic saved Dorothy J. Bell from burning, Hale, Michigan, August 8, 2014.
Bell, 79, was in the kitchen of her one-story house when a massive explosion occurred in the structure. Walls of the house were blown away, and portions of the roof collapsed into it. Bell was pinned to the floor, trapped by debris, near the center of the house.
A neighbor, Ludington, 49, of Hale, responded to the scene after hearing the explosion. He entered the house through its attached garage and called out to any occupants. Hearing Bell’s daughter at the other end of the structure, he exited and with Betty, 38, truck driver of New Hudson, Michigan, who also had responded, helped her escape the house through a window. Another neighbor, Kirinovic, 23, maintenance worker also of Hale, responded to the scene, and he closed the service valve of a nearby propane tank.
Learning that Bell was still inside, Betty and Kirinovic entered the house through the front door and found her, trapped under the partially collapsed roof, at a point about 10 feet from the door. They could not pull her from the debris. By then the back of the house was on fire, with flames quickly growing and spreading.
Ludington had re-entered the house through the garage, and at a point about 15 feet inside, he squatted under the partially collapsed roof and lifted it so that the other men could free Bell. Each grasping her by a hand, Betty and Kirinovic dragged Bell to the front door and outside. As the men fled to safety with her, a wall of the house collapsed, and the interior became engulfed by flames.
Bell required four days’ hospitalization for treatment of lacerations and a head injury, and she recovered.
88034-9887 / 88032-9888 / 88033-9889