A Seymour teenager doesn’t want to be called a hero for saving the lives of a woman and three children after the house they were in caught fire May 27.
Macie Fletcher, 17, said she didn’t think about the dangers of running into the burning home on North Walnut Street, because she was just worried about the people who lived there, even though she didn’t know them.
For her bravery and courage, Fletcher was presented with Jackson County Sertoma Club’s Service to Mankind Award, the club’s highest honor.
Jackson County Reserve Officer Scott Davis, who is a member of Sertoma, surprised Fletcher on Sunday by recognizing her during a worship service at Seymour Apostolic Tabernacle. Both Davis and Fletcher are members of the church.
“It’s embarrassing,” Fletcher said of the attention.
Davis had learned of Fletcher’s actions through the sheriff’s department and nominated her for the award.
Fletcher lives near the house that caught fire in the 700 block of North Walnut Street.
She was leaving her own home to go grocery shopping when she heard a man yelling.
“He pulled up in a car and kept saying ‘A house is on fire,’” she said. “I turned around and said, “This is my house and I just came out of it and it’s not on fire.’”
But the man wasn’t talking about Fletcher’s house and told her it was a house down the street.
“I started looking and I didn’t see anyone coming outside, and I didn’t see anyone making a big deal about anything,” she said. “I didn’t hear any sirens.”
Her boyfriend suggested she walk down the street to make sure everything was OK, so she did.
“And sure enough there was a house on fire,” she said. “It started in the carport, so no one knew. The flames were going towards the back of the house, not the front where you could see it.”
Although she didn’t know the people who lived in the house, she knew they had small children.
She told her boyfriend to get her dad to call 911. After waiting a few minutes, no one came out of the house, but both cars were there, Fletcher said.
When she realized no one knew if anyone was at home, she made a decision.
“I said, ‘I’m going,” she said.
Fletcher ran to the house and started beating on the front door and even broke out a front window trying to make contact with someone.
“I did what every firefighter tells you not to do,” she said. “I ran to this burning house.”
The south side of the house was on fire and she could see the owner of the house trying to gather up her children to get them out, but they went to the door on the side of the house where the fire was burning.
So Fletcher ran to that door, coming extremely close to the flames, to try to get them to go around to the front.
“I think she was in shock and scared and didn’t know what to do because her house was on fire,” she said.
During her panic, the homeowner struggled to unlock the door, while the fire continued to get worse. So Fletcher broke the lock on the door, picked up one of the children and passed the child to her boyfriend who followed her to the scene. She then re-entered the home and carried away another child.
She also got the woman under control and convinced her she had to get out.
When Fletcher realized the family was going to need some things right away, she went to the store and purchased baby formula, bottles, bottled water and snacks for them.
Fletcher said at no point did she get panicked by the situation.
“There’s something that comes over you, like you see in movies, and you know what to do,” she said. “Every action that you take, you know it means something. So you act carefully.”
But after the whole ordeal, when she had time to think, Fletcher said she cried about it.
“For it to be down the street and you’re put into the position to do something, you really don’t have time to decide what you’re gong to do,” she said.
The woman was thankful, but Fletcher said she just did what she hopes anyone would have done, she said.
“I told her, if I were in your position, I would have wanted anyone on that street or driving to do the exact same thing,” she said. “The saying goes, “Treat your neighbor how you want to be treated. If my house is on fire, I would want someone to do that for me.”
Although Davis does not encourage anyone to go into a burning building, he said the end result could have been tragic had Fletcher not acted.
“Due to Macie’s actions, no one died or was even injured in the fire,” Davis said.
Her local award qualifies her for Sertoma’s state level Service to Mankind award. The winner will be announced this fall.