Rescue by Mount Airy Firefighters


Mount Airy firefighters rescued a city woman from a burning home Thursday.

Kay Nichols, 84, of 122 West Wilson Street, had been overcome by smoke from the blaze and was unable to escape the home, but was saved when fire fighters searching the structure found her inside.

According to Fire Chief Zane Poindexter, firefighers arrived at the scene at 8:36 a.m. to find smoke rolling from the home, but no one visible outside or inside.

“It was pretty much involved when we arrived at the scene,” said Poindexter. He said first responders observed smoke from the home’s door and no one standing outside. Firefighters rapidly entered the residence and searched, finding Nichols overcome by smoke in the kitchen area. She was taken outside, given oxygen by the firefighters and then transported to Northern Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation by Surry EMS.

Firefighters were able to rescue her from the home and bring the fire under control within 10 minutes of arriving on the scene, according to Poindexter.

Captain Jody Seaver, Assistant Chief Chris Fallaw and Poindexter served as investigators of the incident. The cause has been determined to be accidental. Two engines, a ladder truck, one support vehicle and two command vehicles were used in connection with the incident. Twelve personnel were involved with no injuries to firefighters reported.

Poindexter said the fire appeared to have occurred on a stove top and spread to the kitchen’s cabinets. Property damage was estimated at $8,000 with $2,000 damage to contents.

He said the cold temperatures make the already dangerous business of fire fighting even more hazardous as firefighters have to be aware of exposure and given opportunities to warm up.

Water pumps normally cycle water out on the ground which freezes and makes surfaces slippery for firemen getting gear and fresh air tanks. When temperatures dip, water must be recirculated to keep it from freezing as well.

Firemen also have to be aware of the additional weight of freezing water on structures as well as icicles which can form and later break off, falling on firefighters.

“Fortunately this incident wasn’t one which required us to have to use that much water,” Poindexter said. “This is the type of cold where water freezes when it hits the ground and stays on a home.”

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