Lifestyle & Human Interest

Two Strangers Pull Grandfather and Little Girl from House Fire Before Flames Take Their Lives


Two men from Oklahoma were planning on enjoying a day of fishing when a nearby house fire grabbed their attention.

Derek Rice and Levi Smith told The Miami News-Record that they were headed to Stepp Ford’s Bridge on Saturday, March 23, when they saw smoke and flames rising from a residential house.

The men quickly ran toward the home and knocked on the door, hoping that anybody inside would be able to evacuate.

“We saw the house in flames and called 911 to give them the address,” Rice said. “We banged on the door and heard an elderly man say he couldn’t move. We asked where he was at.”

Rice said he had to kick down the door and used a flashlight to find the man, who was worried about getting his granddaughter out safely.

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“I asked him if there was anybody else in the house and he told me his granddaughter was,” Rice said. “I pointed my flashlight up where I thought the bedrooms were, but he said no, she was over toward the flames.”

Before emergency crews arrived, Smith and Rice helped the man get outside and away from the flames.

The two men were preparing to run back inside the house to find the granddaughter when she came running outside from behind the house.

The granddaughter assured her grandfather that nobody else was inside and that her grandmother had already left for work.

Smith, who has first aid training because of his job in gas fields, said this was the first time he had to rely on his training.

“This was my first actual hands-on experience, but it was still crazy and an adrenaline rush,” Smith said. “You do what you’ve got to do.”

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It was a joint effort to put out the fire and get the two people transported to the hospital to be checked for injuries.

The Commerce Volunteer Fire Department, Quapaw Fire/EMS Department and the Miami Fire Department worked together to put out the flames.

Adam Bruton of the Commerce Volunteer Fire Department believes that Smith and Rice were in the right place at the right time.

“Without the cooperation of the other two departments, it could have been a whole lot worse,” Bruton said. “And without those two guys, it could have been really, really bad — two fatalities instead of just injuries.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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