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Summit County deputies hailed as heroes after rescuing elderly couple from house fire in Green

Posted at 5:16 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 20:32:33-05

GREEN, Ohio — Two Summit County deputies went above and beyond their job description when they raced into a burning home to save an elderly couple in Green Tuesday night.

Deputies Chirs Boyd and Bill Wandling were first on the scene after a 911 call alerted emergency crews to the fire on Fair View Road just before 10 p.m.

In 23 years of law enforcement, Boyd had never played the role of firefighter, but felt compelled to act quickly when neighbors yelled for help, indicating 85-year-old Caroline Knotts and her 86-year-old husband, James Knotts, could be inside or on a back deck.

"It wasn't so much adrenaline, just react and do your job," Boyd told News 5.

Boyd and Wandling hurried to the front door which was unlocked.

"As we go through the front door, the smoke comes out. It's probably waist-high because apparently it has been on fire for a while," Boyd said.

With firefighters still minutes away, the deputies crouched down in the thick smoke until they found Caroline Knotts who appeared to be struggling to breathe.

"As we started walking through the house trying to clear the house, we found the female standing in the kitchen choking and coughing."

Boyd and Wandling carried her out of the burning home.

After that, they found James Knotts sitting on a chair on a back deck only about 15 feet away from the flames. The officers quickly rescued him as well.

The deputies also spent time looking for the couple's son. It turned out he wasn't home. Boyd estimated he spent about five to eight minutes inside the fire.

The couple was taken to Akron Children's Hospital, which often treats fire victims.

According to Traci Smith, a caregiver for the family, the Knotts were not burned, but they both suffered smoke inhalation.

Smith said Caroline Knotts was doing fine and that James Knotts was doing okay. The biggest concern was taking precautions to prevent him from getting pneumonia.

Smith said the deputies are true heroes in her eyes.

"Everyone is very grateful for them going in there and risking their lives to save their lives," Smith said.

However, Boyd doesn't see his actions as heroic. He views it as part of the job even thought he's not trained to be a firefighter.

"I did my job. I served the citizens of Summit County and the state of Ohio the best I could last night and everything turned out the best for us," he said.

Green firefighters said the blaze started in a bedroom, but the cause hasn't been determined. The damage was estimated at $75,000.