Quick action by a Swain County Sheriff’s Deputy likely saved the lives of three Swain County residents during a recent house fire. That is the word from Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran, after he reviewed the matter and spoke with Sheriff’s personnel.
Sheriff Cochran reports that Sergeant Dennis Elliott, while on routine patrol, saw smoke coming from a house in the Bryson City area. The time was near midnight, and the weather was very cold. At first, Elliott thought that the smoke was coming from either a furnace or dryer vent. Investigating further, he determined that it was, in fact, coming from several places around the roof and that there was a fire in the living room of the home.
Elliott then went to the house and began beating on the doors and windows, trying to awake the people inside. He did so and three people escaped the house, including a very young child. Elliott reported the fire and the Fire Department was dispatched. The fire was extinguished. And, while the couch was destroyed and the house suffered smoke damage, the three inhabitants escaped unharmed.
According to Elliott, the three people were asleep in the house, and did not know that a couch in the living room had caught fire. The house was filling with deadly smoke and the people did not know of the fire until Elliott awoke them.
“This is a classic example of how routine patrol can save lives,” said Sheriff Cochran. “If Sergeant Elliott had not acted as he did, we could very well have had a different, and tragic, outcome,” he added. Sheriff Cochran also reminded everyone of the importance of working smoke detectors.
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