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Monday, October 28, 2013

The Rescue on the Range: “It Was Close”

The fire spread quickly from the porch to the house.
Once again, a dramatic rescue starts with an observant citizen. This time it was 10-year-old Lauren Devich who was riding in a car with her grandmother, Cindy Forseen. They were on 5th Ave South in the city of Virginia, which is located on the Mesabi Iron Range. Lauren spotted a fire on the front porch of a house. That is an area of Virginia where the homes are on small lots and very close together.

Lauren alerted her grandmother, and Forseen called 911. As the call arrived at the Saint Louis County Communication Center, the fire was spreading to the wooden house.  A total of seven 911 communications specialists worked as a team to page out fire-rescue and dispatch the police department while keeping Cindy on the phone for updates on the intensifying fire.

Three Virginia police officers were first on the scene and found that the front of the house was completely engulfed. The officers went to the back door and entered. They found a disoriented woman on the main floor and began to assist her out of the house. She initially said she was alone. Two officers headed up to the second floor as the woman suddenly remembered her daughter was upstairs.

The entire team received awards at a St. Louis
County board meeting
The officers on the second floor forced open a locked door and found a frightened three-year-old child. They carried her down the stairs and got her outside. As the fire continued to grow, the woman abruptly told the officers there was one more child in the house—an infant. With the help of the woman, the officers found the infant and got her outside as well.

The Virginia Fire Department was on the scene in three minutes and aggressively attacked the fire, containing it to only the one house. The victims were treated and examined by Virginia Fire-Rescue. “It was close,” said fire chief Dan L’allier. Speaking of the police officers’ actions, he said, “They risked a lot to save a lot,” and then he added: “The real hero is Lauren.”

Sheriff Ross Litman recognized the entire team at a County Board meeting last month. He presented “911 Life Saver Awards” to the 911 center staff, the police officers and firefighters, Cindy Forseen, and last but not least…sharp-eyed 10-year-old Lauren Devich.


                                                 Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…More Updates

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


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