Fire Captain Ron Merry has been fighting fires for the Rowley, Massachusetts, fire department for more than 45 years now.
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Recently, he arrived at the scene of a house fire and learned that a Good Samaritan had already rescued the homeowner, Deb Shanahan. When Ron heard the name of the neighbor who’d rushed into the flames to save her, he couldn’t believe his ears.
Deb’s hero was Mark Collum, whose name was in the news 20 years ago due to an unspeakable tragedy in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Mark wasn’t there when a fire broke out in his own home that day, but his wife Lisa and their two young daughters were killed in the blaze.
Lisa had even bravely tried to drop 5-month-old Carly to safety from an upstairs window, but the infant didn’t survive the fall.
In spite of his inconceivable loss, Mark didn’t hesitate when he heard Deb’s cries for help. He saw the flames and heard her yelling “fire,” so he threw on some clothes and ran inside his neighbor’s house.
“And I just grabbed her and took her out,” Mark said. “You know, I had a little smoke in my lungs, same with her. So, I just took her outside and things worked out well, thank God.”
Authorities agree that if Mark hadn’t run into Deb’s smoke-filled kitchen and pulled her out, the outcome would have been disastrous. As it is, Deb was released from the hospital and is expected to make a complete recovery!
“I’m just glad I was here and did the right thing, that’s all,” Mark said. “Just hopefully Deb’s all right and everything worked out well today, so I’m kinda glad.”
Fire captain Ron agreed: “If she was still in there, that would have been a mess.”
In 2001, Ron fought the fire that claimed Mark’s family, and he couldn’t believe the circumstances that brought them together once again. “I don’t know if a lot of people would do that,” he said of Mark’s heroism.
Mark’s courage and calm under pressure make him an absolute hero in our books! We’re sending Deb and everyone else involved in the fire all our love.
Share this story to thank Mark for running into danger to save a life.
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