Several Westville emergency responders still refused to be called "heroes" Friday, after rescuing a woman from a burning building the day after Christmas. Several emergency workers required ambulance transportation from smoke inhalation.
"I don't consider us heroes," said volunteer firefighter Brett Nickens. "This is what we do. We're volunteers, and we do this to help people and save people and whatever that entails."
Around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, a police officer responded to a tip of a house fire. She found the entire east side of the structure engulfed in flames.
"A man appeared out of the black smoke," said Officer Candi Helm. "He said there was people still in the house. I immediately just ran ,and he showed me where the lady was stuck."
A woman was stuck in the window. Two volunteer firefighters responded to the scene and safely got her away from the house. She was unconscious. Emergency crews transported her to Hillcrest in critical condition.
The man that lived there was also transported to Siloam Springs but was later released.
The Westville Fire Chief told Channel 8 emergency crews transported two officers and a medic from the scene.
Even days later, Officer Helm said she is still struggling from all the smoke she inhaled. "I'm still coughing up stuff, having trouble breathing. You can tell I keep panting while I try to talk, a lot of black stuff."
Westville Police told Channel 8 Adair County, OSBI, and the fire marshal are investigating the cause of the fire. Reportedly, a cause has been determined but has not yet been released.
A friend of the couple who lived in the house told Channel 8 the man experienced burns on his hands and continues to hope the woman is able to recover.