JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Investigators don't believe a fire that broke out at an assisted living facility in St. Martin was suspicious. The overnight fire at "Lemoyne Place" on Lemoyne Boulevard sent two people to the hospital. Five Jackson County sheriff's deputies were credited with helping to pull more than 30 residents out of the building.
The emergency call came in at 3:30 a.m., reporting a fire at "Lemoyne Place".
"I was shocked, because we live right next door. I mean, living next door to a fire, it's dangerous," said neighbor Bobby Redmond.
Inside the two-story assisted living facility were 36 elderly residents, and according to the assistant fire chief, some of them were bed bound. Five Jackson County sheriff's deputies were the first on the scene.
"All five of them ran into the building, evacuated patients out with no breathing apparatus. The guys really risked their lives for these strangers in this building," said Assistant Jackson County Fire Chief Frank Duke.
Even when firefighters arrived, the deputies continued to pull people out of the burning building.
"They were breathing smoke. On the way out, they were coughing, and trying to get the smoke out and going back in," said Duke.
Once everyone was safely outside, Duke said the residents huddled for more than an hour in the chilly morning air.
The deputies went back in the building, gathered a bunch of blankets and brought them back out for the residents here to keep them warm," he said.
The sheriff said the fire was contained to one of the residents' rooms on the first floor. He said that resident suffered second degree burns to her lower body, and another resident's leg was injured during the evacuation.
"I'm just glad that everybody's OK. It could be a lot worse. My mom, she owns a personal care home. She takes care of elderly people, so I know how hard it is to have to get old people out of a house like that," said Redmond.
The assistant fire chief is grateful for the officers who went above and beyond to save lives.
"They come out coughing and hacking and go right back in and pull some more out. So good for them. I mean, they're heroes," said Duke. "Those guys who are untrained to deal with a fire situation, or untrained to deal with the smoke, they went in and risked what they believed to be their life at that time. They didn't know how big the fire was. Those guys went in and braved those elements to pull people out."
The sheriff said the resident who was burned in the fire is in stable condition. The other resident was treated and released from Ocean Springs Hospital. Because the fire involved injuries, the state Fire Marshal's office is assisting the Jackson County Fire District in the investigation.