Quinn Parrish saw the face of his late grandmother when he made the decision to alert residents of Serenity Apartments their homes were engulfed in flames.
“I saw her face,” he said. “I was just helping here. I wanted to do anything to help.”
Parrish, Demarcus Battles, Ronald Godwin and Harold Sykes were honored by the city at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the City Council for saving 20 people from the three-alarm fire at 557 Azalea Road on Wednesday, May 20.
When the fire that destroyed eight units and damaged more initially started, many residents who were home were unaware. The four men knocked on doors to alert residents and broke windows to save them, Mobile Fire-Rescue Department (MFRD) Chief Mark Sealy told councilors. As a result, he said, no injuries or deaths were reported. The fire displaced 16 families, Sealy said.
MFRD Public Information Officer Steven Millhouse said it’s “very, very rare” for civilians to take the actions these four did. Their actions helped more than 100 MFRD personnel better respond to the large blaze at the scene.
“It’s very rare to see that,” he said. “Thankfully, they were able to help before we got on scene.”
Godwin, the maintenance supervisor for Serenity Apartments, said he sprung to action when he saw the smoke. At first, he and the others grabbed fire extinguishers, but when they were ineffective against the flames, the group decided to warn residents.
“I’m just humble and thankful everybody made it out,” Godwin said. “That’s all I cared about.”
In his statement to councilors, Sealy said he was giving the men lifesaving awards from MFRD. He called their actions “brave” and “good-hearted.”
Battles thanked everyone and acknowledged that “a lot of stuff happened.”
“I just took action and helped,” he said.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson thanked the men on behalf of the city’s residents.
“All Mobilians should be grateful for what they did, not just the families of those they saved,” he said. “Thank you so much for what you did.”
Jennifer Wright also honored the four men at the council meeting. She told councilors that the men helped save her aunt and her aunt’s grandchildren from the fire.
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