Hometown Heroes save woman from burning home in Roane County

WSAZ Hometown Hero | Woman rescued from house fire
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT
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SPENCER, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Bravery and selflessness are the two ways Linda Harris described four men in Roane County, as they were the people who pulled her from her burning home in March.

The fire happened March 20 along the 5100 block of Ripley Road in Spencer. It took the life of two men, who were Harris’s two uncles and resulted in Harris being flown to the hospital.

“Really, I don’t remember nothing,” Harris said. “I know that they didn’t wake me up until Easter Sunday because I was on the ventilator.”

Harris said she was on the ventilator for 13 days. It wasn’t until she woke up that she found out through family that she was pulled from the fire by four men passing by.

Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Fields said he and his wife were on their way to go fishing when they passed the blaze.

“(We) got around the corner, seen the house was on fire. (the) right side was engulfed,” Fields said. “(I) went up to the door, couldn’t get anybody to answer, saw there wasn’t anyone outside.”

He said it was in that moment he decided to force the door open. Once he did, he discovered Linda and another person lying on the ground.

“Me (and my) Uncle Richard, he passed away too, we were behind the door trying to get out,” Harris said.

“I couldn’t get them out myself, then these guys started showing up and if these guys hadn’t showed up, I don’t think anybody would’ve gotten out,” Fields told WSAZ.

The other three men -- Eric Smith, Daniel Mace and Ted Hapney -- saw Fields trying to get someone out, which is when they ran to help.

“I seen (Deputy Fields) up there and I guess I just started kicking the door or something,” Mace told WSAZ. “It just happened so fast.”

“I was on my way to work and actually passed it, I wasn’t sure what was going on (but I) felt the heat through the car and turned around right after I passed it,” Smith said. “When I pulled in, Daniel had come down and stopped me, (he was) hollering ‘there (are) people in the house’ so we ran up.”

Together, they were able to pick up Linda and take her outside. They were also able to pick up the other man inside but he had already passed away.

“(They were) complete strangers, except for my neighbor,” Harris said, “I thank them everyday, I’m grateful everyday for my heroes--my angels.”

Their bravery and quick thinking is what made them this week’s Hometown Heroes.

“It’s really stuck with me, once I learned more about it, what they did,” said Sheriff Brian Hickman. “It’s really been something that I felt strongly they needed recognition (for).”

The four men were recognized during a County Commission meeting for their bravery.

“It’s nice that they did that, but (we) didn’t do it for recognition. (We) did it for those people that were there. It’s more about a human being and your neighbors,” Hapney said.

The four men were also recognized at a Roane County Commission meeting with a proclamation for their bravery and selflessness.

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