"I don't want to get involved" is something heard all too much, but the willingness of four people to get involved and help a stranger recently averted a tragedy.
Lebanon Dispatchers Faith Moore and Bobby Hale, along with citizens B.J. Baugus and Sharon Oldham, were recognized by the police department Friday for their quick response to a house fire, which likely saved the lives of two people. Each received a letter of recognition from Chief Scott Bowen.
Bowen said on the morning of Sept. 24, Oldham and Baugus were at the Dollar General on Sparta Pike when they saw smoke coming from the roof of a house across the street. Without hesitation, the pair of concerned citizens sprang into action.
"While one was calling the other went and beat on the door," Bowen said, adding that Oldham called dispatchers to report the house fire while Baugus rushed to the house to check on the possibility of occupants. Baugus called 911 to report the fire while in the process of trying to get someone to the door.
"Lidia Hill eventually came to the door, and Baugus was able to make her aware of the situation," he said. "As a result of the quick action of Oldham and Baugus, Hill was able to get herself and her 4-year-old son out quickly and safely.
"They assisted us," Bowen said. "Things could have went a lot differently if they hadn't gotten involved. While it's not as important, Ms. Hill said their quick action also minimized the damage to her house."
The professionals didn't drop the ball either. Bowen said Moore and Hale acted quickly in dispatching the Lebanon firefighters and police. All responded quickly and were able to see that everyone was safe in a situation that could have turned out differently, Bowen said.
Bowen said it took all four working in concert to arrive at the happy ending.
"With these four people working together, it saved some lives," he said. "Sometimes we don't take enough time to thank our citizens when they help us out. We're only as successful as we are when we get help from citizens."
He agreed that people usually don't want to get involved and think of such a situation as someone else's problem.
"This is the opposite," Bowen said. "They went above and beyond to make sure these people were safe."
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or firstname.lastname@example.org.