Trash crew helps save elderly couple from house fire

Wednesday morning as Deputy Henry Lawrence and his trash pick up crew made up of inmates from the Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center were tending to Goodwill Road, they noticed the attic of a home belonging to SJ & Jenny Jones had caught fire.

According to Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker, Deputy Lawrence and his crew went above their call of duty, and not only helped to get the elderly couple safely out of their home, but also assisted in retrieving the Jones’ furniture, valuables, and other possessions so that they wouldn’t be damaged by the fire. 

“We normally have inmates that fit suitable guidelines to be able to ride on this trash crew, and they keep our roadways picked up and clean of trash. They were on Goodwill Road this morning picking up trash, going about their normal duties, and observed a house that was on fire up in the attic,” said Parker.

“The Deputy went and banged on the front door and was able to get the residents to the door and notify them that their house was on fire.”

Fire Chief Kip Mourad stated that the fire had started from the chimney, where the radiant heat caused a piece of wood or other flammable material to catch fire. 

He also commented on the selfless acts of the trash crew, saying, “That was a great thing that they happened to be there, they  saw it, and ran up there and got them out of the house.”

After they had gotten the fire under control and the house could be entered safely, the Chief stated that with no hesitation the crew got to work helping to bring the Jones’ possession out of the house. 

“They came in to start hauling out furniture, books, anything personal that we could get out,” said Chief Mourad. “They jumped right in and did a great job helping us out.”

Jayda Spillers, the daughter of the homeowner’s, spoke with the Minden Press-Herald to share her perspective of the events that transpired.

Spillers stated that she had passed the crew when leaving her parents house earlier that morning. She later returned after learning that it had caught fire. 

“When I got to my parents house when I heard it was on fire, he stayed with the crew and they had helped us tremendously getting things out of the house. The inmates couldn’t have been any kinder,” said Spillers.

“(Lawrence) told me that morning that he had planned to go somewhere else, but that something told him to go to Goodwill Road. They happened to take a break in front of my parents house, and one of the inmates looked over and said, I think that house is on fire.”

Spillers thanked God for putting the crew where they were Wednesday, saying that they were at the right place at the right time. “I think that the hand of God put Deputy Lawrence there on that road in that specific spot to take care of them. So thank you Jesus for that and thank you to Deputy Lawrence and his team for helping out,” said Spillers.

“I think they were wonderful heroes today. They were right where God needed them to be to take care of my parents. They wouldn’t let them do anything, they were helping them and making sure they were ok, and that was so appreciated. I hope they recognize Deputy Lawrence and his crew going above and beyond staying and helping.”

Sheriff Parker personally thanked the inmates who helped Thursday morning, and stated that he plans on recognizing the Deputy and crew for their display of altruism at a later date. 

“Every one of my deputies from corrections to administration, from civil to criminal, we’re all sworn to protect and serve the citizens of this parish, and that’s just a fine example of what was done today,” said Parker.


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