Thinking Aloud: Local heroes face flames, help stranger

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 7, 2007

&8220;A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.&8221;

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine, if you will, you are driving down Alabama 68 one morning shortly after 9 a.m.

You are beginning the typical day dropping the kids off at school, running late to work, on your way to make the first sales call of the day, or perhaps leisurely tooling along running errands.

Then, in the corner of your eye you notice off to your left a plume of smoke rising from Plaza Pine Mobile Home Park. As you get closer, the smell of smoke reaches your nostrils as you realize it is coming from the trailer home that is now in clear sight.

Now the question:

tap your brake to catch a closer look, then say to yourself, &8220;Ah, I&8217;ll bet everything is fine and I&8217;ve really got to hurry,&8221; or do you slowly pull your car to the shoulder, taking a deep breath as you step from the car and race toward the flaming mobile home to make certain no one is inside or in harm&8217;s way?

My response very likely would have been the former.

But fortunately for one Pelham woman, three heroes were passing by her home just as she needed help.

Luckier still, one of her heroes happened to be an off-duty fireman from the Pelham Fire Department.

The three heroes rapidly moved to determine if anyone was in the flaming mobile home.

One of them broke the front door down, and then all three went inside where they found the homeowner lying on the floor.

Two of them quickly grabbed the woman, pulling her outside to safety.

Moments later, fire consumed the home.

Little is left of the mobile home other than charred cinders and bent metal but what those three men did that day leaves an inspirational and heroic story not soon to be forgotten.

And a life, that without the selfless bravery of these men, would have been cut too short.