Firefighters, trooper honored for saving woman from fire

Brothers and Firefighters Kevin and Kyle Jenkins were honored for their effort and bravery in rescuing a woman who was trapped during a house fire last October

Brooke Kansier
The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.

KALKASKA — A brave pair of brothers were recognized by state officials, police and Kalkaska locals after saving a woman’s life.

The Monday ceremony saw the siblings and firefighters, Kevin and Kyle Jenkins, honored for their effort and bravery in rescuing the woman, who was trapped during a house fire last October.

Each was offered the Michigan State Police Distinguished Citizen Award, according to an agency press release.

“It’s one of the highest honors we can give out to a person who’s not a member of the Michigan State Police,” MSP spokesman Lt. Derrick Carroll said of the award Monday. “It’s a pretty prestigious honor — not one we give out often.”

The brothers’ accolades stem from their actions upon responding to a house fire on Oct. 2, 2019.

The pair of Kalkaska Township firefighters, both responding in their personal vehicles, were among the first on the scene to a structure fire in the region. They were joined soon after by MSP Trooper Adam Whited, according to the release.

The residential fire was a serious one, and the house had already filled with smoke from flames licking at one of the home’s bedrooms as the trio approached. A barking dog next door offered a clue someone might be trapped inside.

Working together, they came up with a plan.

The brothers and Whited got on their hands and knees and crawled into the burning home, carefully staying below the fog of black smoke. One of them found success — in the kitchen was the home’s resident, 62-year-old Denise Schroeter, according to the release.

She’d fallen to the kitchen floor and was unconscious. The trio worked together to pull her from the burning home, getting her to safety as backup arrived on-scene.

Schroeter was transported to Kalkaska Munson Hospital, where she was treated for smoke inhalation and regained consciousness.

“They saved her life,” Carroll said. “If they had not selflessly went into that building, she would have perished.”

Both of the Jenkins brothers and Trooper Whited were also treated at Munson for smoke inhalation. They were released without complication.

The brothers were nominated by MSP Houghton Lake Post Commander Lt. Travis House, according to the release.

The event, held at the Kalkaska Township Fire Department, also saw the Jenkins brothers receive an award from the Sons of the American Revolution, Carroll said. That was the organization’s Heroism Award, given for the same act.

Whited will be honored with MSP’s Bravery Award at another ceremony that’s yet to be scheduled, according to the release.


©2020 The Record-Eagle (Traverse City, Mich.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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