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Ind. firefighters honored for VES rescue during heavy fire conditions

New Albany firefighters did a window search into the second floor and found the victim under blankets in a bathroom

By Erik Hackman
The Evening News and the Tribune

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — In January, two members of the New Albany Fire Department rescued an elderly woman who was stuck in an apartment fire on State Street.

Sam Heavrin, New Albany Fire Department’s captain of truck one, and Adam Baylor, a firefighter and ladder man for the NAFD, worked together to save the woman’s life.

When they responded to the call, the firefighters were able to get everyone out but her. There was confusion on her whereabouts.

After Heavrin and Baylor were told the location of the woman by people at the scene, they set up their ladder at the closest spot they could.

Once they got the ladder set up, Heavrin broke down the window and went in to start looking for her while Baylor stayed outside to guide Heavrin through the room.

"(When we went) through the window, we had heavy smoke and zero visibility,” Heavrin said. “We had fire all above us, I started doing right-hand search.”

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He was told by dispatch that she could hear the two firefighters and that she was in the bathroom.

“All of a sudden, I heard her, I heard her voice,” Baylor said. “I heard her saying ‘I’m right here.’ It was kind of muffled.”

As Heavrin was searching for the woman, he soon figured out that he was in the bathroom and found her wrapped in blankets. He believes that being covered in blankets is what saved her life.

The two then got her out and carried her down the ladder and brought her to an ambulance.

After saving her from the fire, Heavrin and Baylor were recognized for their efforts by receiving a Life Saving Award from the New Albany Professional Firefighters Union Local 410.

“This shows good light on the fire department,” Heavrin said. “You hear a lot of ‘Hey man you all don’t do anything all day...’ The reality of it is that we actually do quite a bit. We stay pretty busy without a lot of sleep.”

“It’s an awesome award and I appreciate it,” Baylor said. “I love the fact that it brings attention to our fire department and I appreciate the fact that it puts us in a positive light and I hope that it puts all of our members in that light.”

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