Local News

Elderly Couple Has Aberdeen Man To Thank For Saving Their Lives

Posted August 20, 2001

— A husband and wife from Aberdeen who have been together for decades are recovering together in the hospital after being injured in a house fire. If it were not for a distant neighbor who risked his life, they would not be alive today.

Aberdeen Fire Marshall Joey Rorie is still putting together the pieces of how the fire started, and how the elderly couple who lived here, survived it.

"This individual could have been injured himself," Rorie said. "He could have lost his life. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor both bless God for him being here today."

Eighty-eight-year-old Henry Taylor does not have the use of his legs while his wife, Rosa Lee Taylor, is diagnosed with Alzheimers' disease. Both were in their house when the fire started. Joe Womack was the first to drive by and see smoke, and then fire.

"I could hear Mrs. Taylor hollering, 'Please help, get me out of here,'" he said. "At first, I couldn't reach her. I had to drag an old doghouse up to stand on to pull her out."

Womack pulled Rosa Lee to safety on the grass, but she told him that her husband was in the front room.

"He was in the room where the room was completely gutted in flames," he said. "When I kicked the door open, I couldn't go in there and get him for the smoke and flame."

Womack yelled for Henry to drag himself toward the back door.

"He kept hollering, 'Get me out of here. It's getting hot in here,'" Womack said.

Womack was able to kick open the kitchen door and blindly inch in toward Henry's voice.

"I just reached down and pulled his pants leg and pulled him towards me and picked him up and ran out of the house with him," he said. "It didn't matter who it was. If I was in the same situation again, I'd probably do the same thing all over again."

Taylor is in critical condition at UNC's Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill. His wife, Rosa Lee, is in fair condition at First Health Regional Hospital in Pinehurst. Moore County's Department of Social Services is involved with the Taylors and are trying to find a place for Rosa Lee to live.


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