Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 24, 2013

Officer rescues woman from fire

KEYSER, W.Va. — A Keyser woman was rescued from her smoke-filled residence by a Keyser police officer late Wednesday night.

Susan Pownall was reportedly found unconscious and lying on the kitchen floor of her apartment in the 300 block of Ridge Street just before midnight and was then taken to Potomac Valley Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

No information was available Thursday concerning her condition.

Keyser Police Chief Karen Shoemaker de-clined to identify the officer who rescued Pownall.

“The officer is a two-year veteran. Fire responses are not part of our training but our officers do all sorts of things every day to protect and serve the citizens. This officer, and all of our officers, risk their lives every day in their service to the community and I am very proud of all of them,” said the chief.

Keyser Police responded to the 911 center alert for the Keyser Volunteer Fire Department.

The officer arrived on the scene prior to firefighters’ arrival.

“When our officer got there, several people were running from the building and one of them said there was someone still inside.

“Our officer went in and saw a red glow and heavy black smoke before he saw a woman lying unresponsive on the kitchen floor.

“He dragged her from the residence and she regained consciousness outside. Medical personnel from Valley Medical treated her and she was then taken to the hospital,” said Keyser Police chief dispatcher Tom Roy.

Keyser Fire Chief Chris Paitsel said civilian Chris Blacka assisted in the rescue following alert of the fire department at about 11:50 p.m.

“The fire was caused by burnt food that ignited the kitchen cabinets and caused about $8,000 in damages” in Pownall’s apartment, said Paitsel.

A second apartment in the building was checked by firefighters and apparently was not affected by the fire, he said.

The fire was controlled in about 10 minutes by Keyser firefighters, who were assisted by New Creek, Fountain, Burlington, Potomac and McCoole volunteer fire units following alert by the Mineral County 911 center.

Contact Jeffrey Alderton at

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