EVERYDAY HEROES: Canton residents save neighbor from burning home

 EVERYDAY HEROES: Canton residents save neighbor from burning home

The Canton Township neighbors, a member of the Canton Township Public Safety Department and the woman who was rescued from a burning home are pictured during the Aug. 22 Board of Trustees meeting.

With just minutes to spare on the afternoon of July 18, five Canton Township residents rescued a neighbor from the roof of her home that was engulfed in flames on the block of 3500 S. Canton Center Road.

The five residents — Megan Donahue, Mark Jones, Jim Polturanus, Peyton Steele and Keith Welty — were recognized for their heroic actions during the Aug. 22 Canton Township Board of Trustees meeting.

Donahue, who lives next door to the home that was ultimately totaled by the fire, was spraying weeds in her yard when she was alerted by another neighbor of the crisis.

“I had heard some crackling and popping noises, but I didn’t think anything of it at first,” said Donahue, whose property is separated from her next-door neighbor’s house by a line of tall, thick trees.

‘Your neighbor’s house is on fire!’

“Somebody pulled into our driveway and said, ‘Your neighbor’s house is on fire!’. By the time I ran over there, one of the home’s occupants was standing just outside the home while the second occupant — who had been sleeping in a second-floor bedroom because she works nights — was sitting on the roof outside the bedroom window, over the garage.”

Neighbors saved a resident of this Canton home that was destroyed by a July 18 fire
Neighbors saved a resident of this Canton home that was destroyed by a July 18 fire

As flames shot out of the home’s front windows — close enough for the rescuers to feel the escalating heat — the heroic neighbors placed a ladder up against the garage and managed to help the woman sitting on the roof to safety.

“It was pretty scary,” Donahue reflected. “We weren’t sure if the roof she was sitting on was going to collapse at any second, or if the clothes she was wearing would catch fire from the flames shooting from the windows.”

Donahue said she doesn’t consider herself a hero, but she is grateful she was there to help.

Doing the right thing

“I work in healthcare, so helping people comes natural to me,” she said. “I think all of us just felt like we did what you should do when a member of your community is in need.”

Donahue said the neighbor who hustled the ladder to the house left the scene as soon as he knew everybody was safe, not wanting to be the subject of accolades.

“I feel so bad for the ladies who lived there because they’re now displaced and the only things that were salvageable besides the clothes they were wearing were a couple of boxes of items in the basement,” Donahue said.

“I wish there was more we could do.”

A resolution read at the Aug. 22 board meeting stated:

“These five individuals demonstrated unwavering courage and compassion, going above and beyond to make a positive impact on their neighbor’s life.”

Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or edwright@socialhousenews.com.

Ed Wright

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