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Chief: Alarm saved resident

92-year-old man rescued from fire when neighbors, visitors alerted

By Joe Beck — jbeck@nvdailycom

FRONT ROYAL — A group of visitors and neighbors rescued a 92-year-old man from his trailer at 25 James St. after it caught fire Sunday.

Michael Bennett was back in his home Monday after spending the night with his daughter, Laverne Lawson of Front Royal. She was one of five people who first noticed the fire at 5:30 p.m., entered the trailer, removed Bennett and extinguished the blaze with water and an extinguisher, firefighters and one member of the group said.

“It was a helluva of a big scare last night,” Bennett said in a phone interview Monday.

Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie of Warren County Fire and Rescue, said Sadie Orrison of Front Royal, one of those who rescued Bennett, was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation and transported to Warren Memorial Hospital. Mabie said she had been released by Monday.

The other rescuers were Ricky Bennett, a landlord who is unrelated to Michael Bennett; Robert Riley, and Glen Wilkes, all of Front Royal.

Mabie estimated damage to the home at $1,000, most of which had been repaired by Monday evening, Ricky Bennett said.

“Everything right now is running fine,” Ricky Bennett said. “We cleaned it all up, me and his daughter.”

Mabie said the alarm that alerted Bennett’s rescuers was installed by firefighters about a year ago as part of the department’s smoke detector program.

Mabie noted this was the second time in two weeks that a smoke alarm alerted people to a fire that could have killed or injured someone.

The first was Dec. 30 on Misty Meadow Lane in Bentonville, where two occupants of a home escaped after their alarm activated.

Mabie said anyone interested in obtaining a smoke alarm or receiving a free home inspection should contact his department at 636-3830.