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'I did what I’ve been training to do my entire adult life’: Martinsville deputy fire chief saves man from burning home

Heat from a lamp light bulb started the fire

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – “As I got close to the house, I could hear a gentleman inside yelling for help,” Martinsville deputy fire chief Andy Powers said, recalling his rescue of a man from a burning home Saturday.

Powers’ training literally, you might say, kicked in Saturday morning while he was visiting his parents in Collinsville.

“I ran onto the porch and pulled on the screen door. It was locked, so I jerked it open and then I kicked the door in," Powers said. "I was able to find the occupant laying just inside in the living room of the residence. There was some fire in the same room with him and I was able to pick him up and drag him out to the porch to get him out of the fire.”

According to the Henry County Fire Marshal’s Office, the heat from a light bulb in a lamp ignited some material in the house.

By Monday afternoon, the only visible signs of the fire were a smoke stain on the front door and yellow caution tape around the railing of the front porch.

“I did what I’ve been training to do my entire adult life," said Powers. "I’m thankful I was in the right place at the right time and had the training to do that.”

While going into the home likely saved the resident’s life, Powers emphasized that going into a burning home is not recommended.

“We always tell people, ‘Never go back in inside’ just due to how fast the conditions can change," Powers said. "I was lucky. It worked out. The situation allowed for it. He was just right inside the door. If you ever had to go back inside, it’s definitely going to be on a case-by-case basis.”

As of early Monday afternoon, the homeowner was still in the hospital.

Henry County’s deputy fire marshal couldn’t say how severe the homeowner’s injuries are, but he did say that the homeowner will likely have to go to some type of therapy or rehab in order to fully recover.