“Oh you just don’t know how much I appreciate you people,” says Amite resident Dorothy Campbell.
Tonight Campbell is overwhelmed. For the first time she’s getting to thank two Amite officers who rescued her as her neighbors home went up in flames.
“I didn’t hear anything until I seen a shadow come running across my porch and banging on my door,” says Campbell.
Dorothy’s home on South 1st Street in Amite is just a few feet away from her neighbors. She was home with her daughter and four of her grandchildren as flames began to spread on to her house.
Dorothy Campbell exclaims, “They were saying you got to get out, you got to get out, there’s a fire.”
But Dorothy couldn’t get out. As her family ran to safety she was confined to her bed. Dorothy is elderly and disabled and needs help. That’s where Officer Terry Zaffuto and Sgt. Jerome Johnson come in. Two men now called heroes.
Sgt. Johnson says, “She had a walker there so I took the walker and put it by the bed and tried to get her up and she said that I can’t walk.”
Officer Terry Zaffuto says, “Me and him was trying to go ahead, pick her up and carry her. He said hang on let me get the wheelchair, so sure enough he comes outside, grabs the wheelchair.”
“I backed her off the porch, pushed her across the street, and then she asked Officer Zaffuto to get her van. He ran across the street, got into the van. I don’t even know how Officer Zaffuto had the keys or where they came from,” says Sgt. Johnson.
“It was obvious everyone just needed to get out and get away as quickly as possible,” says Officer Zaffuto.
It’s a memory Dorothy hopes she never has to relive, yet tonight she sleeps comfortably knowing these two are around.
“I still don’t know how they got me out the wheelchair, and off of my porch,” says Campbell, “They took good care of me. He said, ‘I’m not going to let you fall,’ and he didn’t either. He didn’t let me fall.”
Amite firefighters were able to save Dorothy’s house.
As for her neighbor’s home, it is a total loss. The family is out of town and tonight firefighters are investigating the cause, but not calling the fire suspicious.