snuffed out quickly thanks to Good Samaritians
Holton family grateful for
The story of two Holton families could have been
much different if not for an alert motorist who saw a flicker
in a window and stopped to check it out.
A North Vernon couple, David and Linda Heilman, were on their
way home in the early morning hours on Friday, February 12, when
they notice a flicker in a window at a mobile home just west of
the Michigan Road and US 50 intersection.
I told my wife something was wrong, to call 911, noted
David, as he pulled into the driveway where the home was located.
There were no vehicles in the drive, so he wasnt sure if
anyone was home or not.
The Heilmans would soon find there were five people inside the
mobile home, four of them children.
David opened the door to find a woman down on one knee gasping
for air. The smoke was thick in the kitchen where she was,
In the meantime, Linda had called for help and was now helping
her husband to get the children, one-by-one out of the home. We
put them in our vehicle, so they would be warm, Linda noted.
David said the gauge on their vehicle read two degrees. It
was definitely cold that night, he noted.
Amanda Woodward was the woman down on the floor. She said she
smelled smoke, got up to check it out, and found the kitchen range
was on fire. She put flour and salt on it, but said then she panicked
and threw some water on it. The water and grease meshed together
to make a slick mess and she fell as she tried to get away from
the stove and get the children out.
Woodward rents the mobile home from Mark Pickett, along with her
cousin Tasha Lagle, and between the two they have five children.
Tasha was at the hospital with her youngest son, Braxton, who
is only three months old, when the incident occurred. Were
just having a streak of bad luck, Tasha noted on Friday,
when she came home to find out what had happened. She agreed with
Amanda, that their luck could have been much worse if it wasnt
for the Heilmans.
Amandas hair was singed, but no one was hurt and the fire
was quickly snuffed out by David. If it wasnt for
them (the Heilmans) I dont know what I would have done,
Amanda told the Osgood Journal.
The Lord puts us right where we belong, David told
the Osgood Journal as he was being thanked for his quick actions.
He noted that they usually wouldnt be out so late, it was
after 1:00 a.m. There are no close neighbors where the mobile
home is located and Tasha had her cell phone with her at the hospital
that night. The family also didnt have a vehicle. They were
very grateful for the Heilmans helping hands that night.
The Heilmans were quick to praise the Holton Volunteer Fire Department.
It was amazing how quickly they responded, David noted.
He said he watched as they took a big fan and got the smoke out
of the home and carried out their duties in a professional manner.
The family was able to get back inside the home in a short time.
A firefighter for the department said he felt the outcome would
have been much different if the Heilmans hadnt responded
when and how they did. He felt that the lives of those inside
were saved by the quick and decisive actions of the North Vernon
While the fire started in the vicinity of the kitchen range, the
exact cause was not determined by press time, according to Holton
Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tony Franklin.
Linda Heilman said she was proud of the children, who remained
calm throughout the ordeal. They are very well mannered,
she told the Osgood Journal. They made fast friends with her as
they huddled in the Heilmans vehicle for warmth and safety
Andrew, a second grader at South Ripley Elementary School, said
he was scared, but knew everything was going to be all right.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT
Adults pictured from left are David and wife, Linda Heilman
of North Vernon, who were Good Samaritians and helped Amanda
Woodward, who is holding her son, Aden, 2. Another son of
Amanda's, Andrew, is standing with David. Linda is holding
Leeann, 2, who is the daugher of Tasha Lagle, a co-tenant,
who was not at home at the time of the fire. Amanda was
caring for another relative, Sierra, who is 5, who was in
the trailer the night of the fire, but not pictured. They
are standing in front of the kitchen stove where the fire