Fire chief recovering after saving woman from burning home

BELINGTON, W.Va (WDTV) – A local fire chief is on the mend after he and another firefighter rushed into a burning home to save a woman.

The Belington Volunteer Fire Department was just finishing up a day of fundraising at the station when the alarms went off Saturday night.

The extra few minutes they saved by already being at the station were crucial because a woman paralyzed from the waist down couldn’t make it out of her burning home on her own.

Firefighter Bernie Corley says their chief was first on the scene and jumped right into action.

“Our chief was already there. He was on the porch and he was giving directions and telling us what to do; do this, do that, he said he knew where she was at. We picked it up a little bit, then we got in there and got her out,” said Corley.

Corley says they were able to save two cats and a dog too, but it might have been a different outcome if everyone wasn’t in the right place at the right time.

Phil Hart is the fire chief for both Bridgeport and Belington. Hart’s family has a long history of fire fighting in the area.

His daughter, Heather Johnson recalls what she remembers hearing over the scanner.

“He had just come in, just started to eat dinner when the whistle blew for a structure fire,” said Johnson. “Of course, in our family, you listen to the scanner, so you know what’s going on. So we were listening to the scanner. When we heard there was a firefighter down, your heart just stops. At that point, we didn’t even know it was my dad.”

Woman, 2 firefighters hospitalized after fire in Belington

While everyone made it out, the smoke inhalation was too severe.

Corley says the adrenaline is what got them through it.

Corley was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Hart and the woman were both flown to Morgantown for treatment.

Hart’s daughter says the chief is expected to be released from Ruby Memorial Hospital Monday, and the victim is recovering as well.

“Their first thought was just to save her, never gave a second thought to their own safety, and when my dad arrived to Ruby, one of the first things he says was, ‘Did she make it?’”