Rifle teen comes to the rescue
RIFLE – It’s hard to predict how someone will react in an emergency situation.John and Kelly Cooper of Rifle now know how their 14-year-old son, Jeremy, will act in the face of danger. Jeremy warned residents of the Winchester Garden Apartments on Railroad Avenue that the building was burning and to get out, according to John.
Jeremy assisted his aunt, Christina Cooper, from the third-floor window because flames had blocked the doorway of the apartment. According to John, his son told him that he went to find another way out with no success and by the time he reached the window from which his aunt had exited, the apartment was filled with smoke.Jeremy then jumped from the same window and began notifying residents of the danger that lurked, John said.”He’s a very modest kid,” John said of his son. “I’m very proud of what he did and how brave he was.”On Wednesday evening, Jeremy was helping his aunt, John’s sister, move into a new apartment at the complex and had planned to go to bed, but instead stayed up late searching for a television cable, John said.
That’s when he noticed smoke and ash filtering in from under the front door of the apartment.Christina, 40, sustained a broken back when she landed on the ground. She was later transported by Rifle Fire Protection District (RFPD) medics to Grand Valley Medical Center in Rifle, then by helicopter to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction where it was determined that she fractured the L-1 vertebrae of her spine.”Doctors told me that it was like dropping a bowl,” John said. “She shattered the bone in her back, but the fragments didn’t damage the nerve column.”RFPD fire marshal Kevin Whelan stated in a press release that “It appears a cigarette was the probable ignition source and empty cardboard boxes contributed to the fire size and intensity.”
Four of the six apartments affected by the fire have been reoccupied and damage to the building was estimated at around $45,000.Fire crews arrived on the scene to find Christina on the ground and another woman resident sitting in the window of another apartment. Fire crews rescued the lady by ladder, and she was uninjured.John, a retired police officer from Arkansas, said he was impressed by the collective efforts of all services involved.”Having been in law enforcement for a long time, the response was just incredible from the different agencies and even the Red Cross.”
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