Tag Archives: Firefighters

My Husband…My Hero

21 Sep


Judy Wills


After the birth of our second child in 1971, we moved from Loring AFB, Maine, to San Antonio, Texas, where Fred would become an instructor at the Officer Training School (OTS) at Lackland AFB. Since our marriage, we had always lived in either apartments or government quarters. We felt it was time to own our first home. So we began looking at houses not too far from Lackland.

We didn’t actually have a realtor, but kept seeing signs for “Ray Ellison Homes” all around that area, so we checked them out. There was a subdivision of new homes there – within our price range – and we found one we liked. It wasn’t terribly large, but it had three bedrooms and TWO BATHROOMS!! WOW! We snapped it up.


The bedroom windows in this house were high and long – narrow. They were high enough that we could hang a picture above our bed (no headboard). One night in 1972, about 2:00 a.m., we both were awakened by a bright light. We got up and looked out our bedroom window – and saw flames roaring from the garage in the house next to us! It took us a few seconds to recognize what was happening, then we swung into action. I called the fire department, then ran to get the girls. I was in such a state that I forgot to bring extra diapers for Janet! The firemen told us we had to leave the house, so we went to the neighbor’s house across the street.

In the meantime, Fred ran next door to the burning house. He began ringing the doorbell and pounding on the door. I heard him yelling “FIRE” several times. He woke them up. To his amazement – they ran back into the house to get “stuff” before leaving. They told us later that, while they usually left their bedroom doors open at night, they had each closed their doors that particular night, and so didn’t know their house was on fire.


None of the family members were injured in the fire, while the entire house was destroyed. Fred suffered some burns on his forehead from blowing embers. After rousing the house members, he grabbed our garden hose and began spraying the side of our house, trying to save it from as much damage as possible. Some of our windows shattered, but we had the blinds closed, and so the shards were contained mostly in the carpet. We had about $500 damage to our house, including the soft water tank on that side of the house. But Culligan came and replaced it with no charge to us.


It took until after daybreak for the fire to be under control. We were amused to see that some of the neighbors came out to retrieve their newspapers and found fire trucks and hoses in the street! They hadn’t heard or seen anything during the night! Heavy sleepers, huh?

I volunteered to help do some salvage. What amazed me was in the kitchen – the door of the dishwasher was completely mangled and warped. But under the top cabinets hung a roll of paper towels, completely untouched by the fire!

Two years later, the house on the OTHER side of us caught fire in the early morning. And we learned that, after we left San Antonio, the house two doors down from THAT one burned. Seems like it skipped every other house. We’re just glad ours was one of the “skipped” ones!

But Fred is my hero – thinking of the neighbors as he did.



20 Jun

From My Heart

Louise Gibson

author of Window Wonders




Love is such a great motivator-
It is amazing what it leads us to do.
We rise up to defend the helpless,
in spite of the danger in view.


I want to share a story with you
that truly touched my heart.
Such love in action was newsworthy,
heart rendering from the start.


Overnight, a scrawny New York City feline
went from anonymous to international fame.
The transformation happened in a “flash”..
A flash of fire gave Scarlett her name.


Her story:


The Cat Who Became An Action Hero


The saga began in 1996, when a blaze consumed an

East New York garage.  As the battle against the fire

wound down, firefighters noticed three four-week old

kittens huddled near the building’s front door crying in fear.

Across the street sat two more.  A badly burned calico female

paced nervously between the two groups.


It didn’t take long for firefighter Davfid Gianellii to figure out what had

happened. Gianellii, whose soft spot for pets earned him the nickname

“the animal guy” in  East New York’s Ladder Company 75, guessed that

during the fire, the mother cat had dashed repeatedly into the blaze

to rescue her kittens. Now she was in the process, in spite of her severe

injuries, of moving them to a new hiding place.


The firefighter scooped up the mother and babies and took them

to the North Shore Animal League.  The staff, sensing a chance

for a little publicity, told the story to a local TV station.  The agency got

more than a little publicity. Everyone from CNN to the BBC picked up the

tale, and soon people from as far away as Cairo and Japan were

writing and phoning the shelter.


The mother was named Scarlett because of the vivid color of her burns.

Sadly, one of the kittens died of an infection.  But the other four made strong

recoveries.  As the family convalesced together, thousands of adoption

offers flooded in from around the world.  Finally, two kittens named

Samsara and Tanuki were given to a Port Washington family; the other

two, Cinders and Oreo found their way to Hampton Bay, New York.


Heroic Scarlett found a home with the Wellon family in Brooklyn.  Her

scars healed and the only remaining signs of her travails were her

rather poor vision and the amputated tips of her ears.  Her new owners

have also helped heal any emotional scars. “She’s a total love machine”

a family member told the New York Times. The former scrawny stray

is also, apparently, an eating machine. After her rescue she ballooned to

seventeen  pounds quite a change from her days as an action hero.


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