Local News

Rookie Firefighter Helps Save Children From Burning House

Posted July 3, 2007

— Hours before he was scheduled to begin working for the Roanoke Rapids Fire Department, an 18-year-old firefighter helped pull two children from a burning home early Tuesday, authorities said.

A neighbor reported that the house at 115 Blue Water Court was on fire shortly before 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said. Three trucks and 18 firefighters responded to the fire, and they found flames coming through the roof as they arrived, authorities said.

Ray and Amy Poole escaped the house, but Amy Poole was screaming to firefighters as they arrived that her children were still inside, authorities said. The family was sleeping on the first floor of the two-story home because their air-conditioner wasn't working, but the parents couldn't find the children in the thick smoke, authorities said.

Firefighters Nick Hite and Chris Clements of the Davie Volunteer Fire Department went in the house and rescued a 10-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, authorities said.

Hite recently earned a full-time job with the Roanoke Rapids Fire Department, which also responded to the fire, and was to start his first shift with the department at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Clements said he lives near the scene of the fire and his children play with the children he rescued.

"I only had to drive a block, and I thought, 'Good gracious, I know these people. Whoever they are, I know them,'" he said. "It turns out I did know them. It's people I work with and our kids are growing up together."

The family was taken to Halifax Regional Medical Center, where the parents were treated and released.

The children were then airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for treatment for smoke inhalation. They were alert and talking Tuesday morning and were listed in fair condition Tuesday evening.

The fire was brought under control in 30 minutes, but the second story of the house was destroyed, authorities said.

Authorities haven't determined the cause of the fire, but they said it started on the second floor.


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  • lavt1965 Jul 5, 2007

    There are angels among us. Thank God for the firefighters. For all of you posting comments about the parents actions, I can only hope that God will look after you too, the fools that you are. HOW DARE you judge them. They are my family and I know they were doing all that they could to get to their kids. SHAME on all of you!

  • gavsmom Jul 4, 2007

    Wow... Reading all of these comments has made me smile--Nick & I are first cousins; the family is so proud of him and the path he has decided to take in life. He really isn't your average 18-year-old; he's very outgoing, respectful, compassionate and God-loving. Reading so many positive, uplifting comments from other folks on this story is really something... :o)

  • BridgeBuilder Jul 4, 2007

    You always hear about how the "rookies" get hazed and picked on when they first join a new crew...I bet this guy received nothing but salutes from his new peers. Great job and a great story.

  • Right4Me Jul 4, 2007

    Good Job Guys, You Rock. Thank God for folks who risk it all to help others. There is a special place in Heaven for you.

  • illegals--GO HOME Jul 3, 2007

    Fantastic work guys......you make us all proud. This is the job satisfaction that you strive for in fire/rescue/police work...to try to help others....thats the main part. The other stuff is what is required. KUDOS guys! ! !

  • 3 Sails Jul 3, 2007

    larry1, you are absolutely right. It never ceases to amaze me when we are responding to a call how so many people seem to think what they are doing is more important than us running lights and siren going to a call. I am proud to say I know both of these firefighters and also Nick Hite's parents. They are all fine people. I also know the parents of the kids and they are just as nice a couple as you'll meet and I take great offense at some of the boneheaded comments posted previously about them leaving the kids behind. I've known Ray for years and if he couldn't find Landen, it was because he couldn't see or breathe. I am so thankful Nick and Chris were able to rescue Landen. OUTSTANDING!!!

  • shecares Jul 3, 2007

    I new we had angels here on earth.THANK YOU THANK YOU . GREAT JOB.

  • mrh2008 Jul 3, 2007

    good job..there from my home town in RR..

  • larry1 Jul 3, 2007

    just think about this story the next time you want pull over for fire ,police,and ems.two more min. and this story may not have a happy ending.

  • diwanicki Jul 3, 2007

    Fine work guys, fine work!! Glad everyone is ok.