Smoke beckons firefighter on trip home from work

Wilson, a member of the WSVFD, pulled the woman from the burning house on Locke Street.

Wilson, a member of the WSVFD, pulled the woman from the burning house on Locke Street.

by Ben Posey

We all heard the story and saw the horrific pictures of the massive 2-story home near Eagle Mountain Lake that was destroyed by fire this past week. Firefighters from thirteen different departments including four from the White Settlement Fire Department (WSFD) were called to the scene as the fire grew from a 1-alarm to a 3-alarm call. WSFD sent Brush truck 18 and a Command suburban that included firefighters Melvin Wilson, Trevor Gauge, Casey Giles and Brandon Giles.

As the 4 firefighters from WSFD jumped into action and started helping other departments douse the flames, they maneuvered to a corner of the structure to battle the fire.

“We were set up just under a tree on the corner of the house when the eve of the house fell to the ground and hit all four of us,” Wilson said in an interview with The Grizzly at the fire station. “All of us tried blocking it with our arms but it knocked us to the ground.”

Multiple fire departments were called to this fire at Eagle Mountain Lake.

Multiple fire departments were called to this fire at Eagle Mountain Lake.

One of the firefighters injured his arm and Wilson got him loaded up in the command vehicle and transported him to Texas Health Harris Hospital downtown Fort Worth. After waiting at the hospital for the injured firefighter’s family to arrive, Wilson then got back in the Command unit and proceeded back to the station in White Settlement.

“I was just driving home late that afternoon just thinking about the day’s events when I spotted smoke rising just off the freeway near Montgomery Street,” Wilson said. “It was just instinct, I guess; I just exited the freeway and drove towards the smoke.”

Meanwhile, the Fort Worth Fire Department was dispatched to a reported house fire in the 4000 block of Locke where Wilson was now on location.

“When I pulled up, I already had my bunker pants on and I grabbed my jacket and helmet and headed in,” Wilson said.

Wilson said a lady was standing next door in the yard screaming and saying that a lady was inside. He then went around to the rear of the house and kicked in the back door and started shouting “fire department, can you hear me?”

“The smoke was thick and dark as I entered the rear of the home and I heard a lady moaning,” Wilson said. “A neighbor helped me pull her from the house and we moved her to the front yard.”

The woman suffered smoke inhalation and was transported to a local hospital by ambulance.

Fort Worth Firefighters arrived on scene to find the woman in the front yard and her house blazing. During firefighters’ efforts to attack the fire, crews found a small, unresponsive cat trapped inside. Fire personnel began immediate medical treatment on the cat and it was soon breathing on its own. The cat and the woman are expected to make a full recovery.

Wilson, again, began his journey home with even more to think about on his day’s events. What if he hadn’t gone on that call to Eagle Mountain Lake? What if one of the firefighters hadn’t been injured and need transportation to the hospital? What if Wilson had just ignored the smoke he saw from the highway on his way back to the station from the hospital?

A Fort Worth fi refi ghter gives oxygen to the kitten. Photo by FWFD Glen Ellman

A Fort Worth fi refi ghter gives oxygen to the kitten. Photo by FWFD Glen Ellman

I would say that Melvin Wilson was in the right place in the right time thanks to greater powers at hand. Wouldn’t it be nice if the owners of the home at Eagle Mountain Lake saw the good in the disaster that struck their family home?

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