Cop - Firefighter Rescue Trapped Baby


Nokomis – A mother injured from burns outside of her home.  Her 18 month old daughter trapped in an upper story bedroom.  A nearly tragic January 5th fire recounted by first responders for WAND nearly one week later.

“She suffered third degree burns on her foot and some on her hand,” Pastor Ryan Follis told WAND’s Doug Wolfe.  The mother tried to go back into the burning house but could not make it past smoke and flames.  Pastor Follis tried to get up to the room himself.  “Pretty helpless in that moment to realize you can’t do anything.  We couldn’t get to the second story.”

Police Sergeant Garry Knebel arrived and tried twice to get up the stairs but couldn’t get through the wall of smoke.  Minutes later the first Nokomis firefighters arrived and Knebel headed back into the home with fire Captain Michael Smalley.

“It was just an uncontrollable animal I couldn’t beat,” Knebel recalled.

Smalley made his way up the steps, through the smoke to a back bedroom unable to see. 

“I made it to the room.  Panic set in whenever I made it to the first bed and couldn’t find her,” Smalley recounted.  “Ended up locating the second bed.  Found her.  Headed back to the stairs.”

Smalley fighting his way through the thick smoke fell down the stairs landing on his back at Knebel’s feet.

“I couldn’t hear him through his mask because of the load of noise of the ceiling falling down on top of us and the roar of the smoke and fire,” Sergeant Knebel said.  “I just reached down and grabbed the baby and grabbed him and said let’s go.”

The baby was limp in the Sergeant’s arms when he came out of the house.  But she started crying as the ambulance carried her to the spot where a helicopter would transport her to a Springfield hospital.  The mother, Rebecca Sims-Carlson, was treated for her burns.  The baby required some skin grafts but is expected to recover.

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