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Deaf Woman Saved from Burning Apartment

By Harold Bearden
Friday, January 15, 2010 | 3:45 PM

Apartment Fire

Haleyville Police Sgt. Steve Hicks, Haleyville Polcie Ofc. Nathan Whitman, and Haleyville Firefighter Andy Frederick arrived early Friday morning to find two apartments in the Newburg Housing Authority on fire. Frederick and Whitman, assisted by Hicks, rescued Joyce Markem, 59, a hearing-impaired resident, who was asleep in her bed.

The fire call came in at 1:44 Friday morning. Hicks, Whitman, and Frederick arrived first on the scene and checked apartments for occupants. Upon finding Markem, they removed her through her front bedroom window. All three were overcome with smoke and Marbutt was transported to Lakeland ER with smoke inhalation. Frederick remained overnight.

Shirley Robins, 57, a resident of the apartment next to Markem, said that she dropped a cigarette and used her lighter to search under the sofa. The lighter set the sofa on fire and the fire spread, engulfing both apartments.

Haleyville Mayor Ken Sunseri commended Frederick and Whitman for their heroic actions in saving the life of Markem. Haleyville Fire was assisted by Bear Creek and Pebble firefighters.

Cleta Pinkard at the Haleyville Housing Authority asked for help. Both women lost nearly everything in the fire. Anyone who can help should call the authority at 486-3571. Posted in News