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10/24/2014

From the Southern Illinoisan

DHS employees save woman from blaze

SARAH HALASZ GRAHAM

October 24, 2014

Pictured -Donna Allison, Spencer Sagaskie, Don Burk, and Judith Bost
Pictured Left to right: Donna Allison, Spencer Sagaskie, Don Burk, and Judith Bost. Jackson County LOA Angie Imhoff and four of her staff had a little more excitement than they planned for on Thursday, October 23. See the article from the Southern Illinoisan.

Four employees of the Illinois Department of Human Services sprang into action Thursday morning when they rescued a woman from a house fire blazing across the street from their offices in Murphysboro.

Judy Bost, the human services case worker who first arrived on the scene, said she didn't think twice about entering the house.

"A little girl was yelling that her mom was still in the house," Bost said. "I went into the house to look and the mother was near the front door laying on the ground."

Bost said the front room was filled with thick, black smoke, and flames billowed from windows in the back of the house, near the kitchen. There was just enough space beneath the smoke to see the woman, who was sprawled on the floor about five feet into the house. But Bost didn't know if she could pull her out on her own.

"I thought I can't get her out of here, I can't lift her," she said. "I was so glad that the other three got there. I would have had to drag her across the floor."

Two of Bost's colleagues, Spencer Sagaskie and Donna Allison, arrived just in time to help Bost carry the woman outside. Another colleague, former Marine Don Burk, assisted in carrying her to the sidewalk -- just in time to hear sirens approaching.

"It was an excellent team effort," said Sagaskie, a Carbondale resident. "Everybody sort of buckled down."

Sagaskie said the whole office helped out, gathering blankets for the two residents and making sure everyone was OK.

Murphysboro Fire Chief Steve Swafford said his department sent two trucks to combat the blaze, which started around 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Fourth and North streets.

No one was seriously hurt in the fire, but the adult resident was treated for smoke inhalation. Sagaskie and Allison were taken to St. Joseph Memorial Hospital as a precaution.

Swafford said the house likely will be a total loss: "There was major fire damage in the kitchen and back porch area and smoke and heat damage to the rest of the house," he said.

Fire Marshal Ken Arnold has ruled out arson, but the cause of the blaze remains undetermined, Swafford said.

Read Entire Article in the Southern Illinoisan