Fire department releases cause of house fire

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Brookland Fire Chief Steve Beck told Region 8 News Wednesday morning that the house fire in which a deputy and a police officer rescued a woman started in her front yard.

Beck said the fire, which happened in the 600-block of Craighead County Road 765, spread from the yard beneath her front porch, catching the home on fire.

Two officers of the law risked their lives to save 62-year-old Sue D. Nance. She was trapped inside the home.

Nance's neighbor, Robert Lee Andrews, said he noticed the fire after he went outside to feed his rabbits.

"I walked out and I seen smoke," Andrews said. "I walked around the back of the building and her yard was on fire."

Andrews said he immediately jumped into his truck and drove to Nance's home.

"I knew she was in bed asleep," Andrews said. "I said 'Sue! Your house is on fire. Your house is on fire! C'mon, get up! Get out of here!"

Andrews said he was never able to wake her up, but he could hear her dog barking inside. By then, the rug on her front porch caught fire.

"That's how bad the fire had got up to her house. It had already gone up underneath her house," Andrews said. "I was scared. I didn't know what to do. I said the only thing I know to do is call 911."

Not long after that, Craighead County Sheriff's Deputy Josh Miller arrived at the home and found it fully involved.

"I seen fire around the porch, the front door area," Miller said. "I knew somebody was in there and the house was on fire. I had to do something."

Miller said when he got to the front door, he could hear Nance screaming for help, but when he tried to open the door, it was locked.

"So I had to make entry," he explained.

Miller said he kicked down the door, but the smoke was too thick.

"I had to feel my way through the smoke towards her voice. When I finally reached her, I started to pull her toward the front door," Miller said.

By that time, help had arrived in the form of Brookland Police Officer Janssen Settlemoir.

"Someone come up from behind me and helped me the rest of the way getting her out of the door," Miller said.

Though Miller and Settlemoir are being credited for saving Nance from the home, the Brookland and Philadelphia Fire Departments are being praised for saving her home and her dog.

"One of the internal guys inside the house was able to locate the dog, I believe it was hiding under a bed, and was able to get the dog out and it seems like it's doing just fine," Brookland Fire Captain Bill Tripp said.

Nance was taken to a hospital with undisclosed injuries. Her condition is currently unknown.

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