A Good Samaritan and a Bellaire police officer are being hailed as heroes after they helped two people to safety following a multi-house fire in the village on Thursday morning.
Flames and heavy smoke billowed from two homes that caught on fire shortly after 11 o’clock.
Diane Duda was driving in the 4300 hundred block of Franklin Street stopped when she saw flames.
“I was actually going to get my son to help me with my dog and I saw smoke, so I made the corner and investigated and the back porch was already ablaze,” said Duda.
Duda called 911, then noticed Bellaire Police Officer JJ Watson in her rear-view mirror.
He blocked off the street and Duda took action.
“I started beating on the doors,” she said.
That alerted a mother and her 16-year old, who didn’t realize the house was on fire.
“We went back and the door was open, so JJ and I went into the house and there were two people coming down the stairs,” Duda said. “We asked them if there was anybody else in there, they said no, and I said what about next door?”
She was told a 32-year old woman and her four children lived next door.
“I went back outside and started beating on that door. JJ started kicking the door,” Duda said.
Bellaire Police Chief Dick Flanagan kicked the door in, and no one was home at the time.
First responders from Neffs, Bellaire, Martins Ferry, Shadyside and Bridgeport arrived to extinguish the flames and control traffic. Belmont County EMA also assisted.
Heavy smoke could be seen throughout the village for hours.
Thankfully, no lives were lost.
“God put me in the right spot at the right time,” Duda said.
There is no word yet on what caused the fire. An investigation is underway.