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Hometown Hero | William Adkins

Kermit man saves family from carbon monoxide poisoning
Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 8:59 PM EDT
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KERMIT, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A man from Kermit is our latest Hometown Hero after he saved the lives of a family Sept. 2 when a family of six inside a home were poisoned by carbon monoxide from a generator inside.

It’s a scene assistant fire chief Wayne Williamson will never forget.

“I have been doing this for a long time and helping people, and I have never rolled up on a scene quite like that one,” Williamson said.

He arrived to the scene on Scorpion Drive of a mother and five children lying on their porch -- some of them unresponsive and some of them were barely breathing.

“It kind of took me out of my own world, you know?” Williamson said.

William Adkins, their neighbor, was desperately working to bring them back.

“Some of the kids was foaming at the mouth,” Williamson said. “If he would not have got there in the next minute, maybe two, they would have been dead.”

Wayne said if William had not responded with quick action, the six would be dead of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator inside the home.

“Just thinking about the kids and everything that needed to be done, all that I could think was get them out and call you guys,” Adkins said.

Five children ages 3 to 11 and their mother were what Adkins said prompted him to act.

Before finding the family inside, Adkins said he was at home playing with his son when he got a call from his neighbor late that afternoon.

“He said that he was trying to call the family and no one was answering and asked me to go down there and check on them,” Adkins said.

Adkins heard the family’s generator, but he knew generators are suppose to be outside. When he did not see one outside he knew something was wrong.

“When I couldn’t smell it outside, that’s when I said, ‘oh there is something wrong,’ ” Adkins said.

He knocked on their door, and when he did not hear the five children or a response, he broke the door down.

“When I opened the door, it just hit me in the face and I instantly got dizzy,” Adkins said. “That’s when I caw the oldest of the autistic children was laying in the living room with his eyes half open and frothing at the mouth.”

Adkins dragged the child outside. When he went back in, he saw another young child, and the mother who looked like she had been walking toward the child. She was lying on the ground.

He went to the back the back room and saw the youngest barely breathing, along with the other two.

“So I just started dragging people outside,” Adkins said.

Getting the babies first, he got all six to fresh air. Adkins screamed for help, trying to wake the five children and their mother.

Whatever I could do to get them to gasp or cry pinch on their cheeks, smack them and if I could hear them cry, I knew they were getting some clean air," Adkins said.

When Williamson got on scene with his crew, he said minutes more and the six would have perished inside.

“They call us the heroes, you was the hero that day,” Williamson said. “Here on behalf of WSAZ and the Kermit Fire Department, we’d like to give you this award because you really deserved it, sir.”

“It may be a small piece of paper but to the Kermit Fire Department and I’m sure with WSAZ that right there means the world,” Williamson said.

Adkins said he did it because, ever since he was in a situation where someone showed up to help, he said he would do the same for anyone else.

“Well, I so appreciate that,” Adkins said.

Saving the five children and their mother does affect him, he said that’s not a scene many people see.

“It touches me every now and then when I sleep, still just seeing everything that I saw in there, just the baby’s eyes,” Adkins said.

This incident affects Adkins, especially because he has a baby the same age. Also, he and his wife are expecting another baby.

“That day was the first day that I ever met William and I am more than proud of him,” Adkins said. “He done what a lot of people wouldn’t.”

The mother and two children were airlifted to Cabell Huntington Hospital. The other three children were transported to a local hospital for treatment. He talks to his neighbors everyday.

"The first day they came back from the hospital, all I did was go over there and hug them,” Adkins said.

Although Adkins says he does not like the word “hero” or think of himself that way, he is a true Hometown Hero.

“In the end we are all human, we all make mistakes, we all have stuff we just don’t know about and when somebody can help you with that, it just seems silly that you wouldn’t,” Adkins said.

Adkins says the family is still resting and recovering from the incident.

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