JEFFERSON-Two Ashe County Sheriff’s Deputies who risked their lives in an attempt to save a Fleetwood woman last weekend were formally commended by their boss last week.
Sheriff James Williams issued letters of commendation to ACSO Sgt. Darrell McClure and Deputy Sheriff Joe Francis following a tragic Nov. 14, fire that claimed the life of Cathy Ellison, of 668 Woodstown Road.
Ellison, 52, was likely asleep when a fire broke out in or near her home’s kitchen early that morning, according to Ashe County Fire Marshal Bob Davis.
Just nine minutes after Ashe County Communications issued the call for emergency responders, McClure and Francis were on-scene Williams said.
The pair tried to enter the home at multiple points, Williams said, but smoke and flames pushed McClure and Francis back. Their attempt at opening the home’s French doors, however, was successful. They found Ellison and pulled her to the home’s porch where they started CPR. Once the smoke and flames reached the porch, Williams said the officers moved Ellison to the property’s yard where they continued CPR.
“You both risked your own lives to save Cathy, battling the smoke and the fire to extract her body from the burning home,” Williams wrote in his letter to the pair. “You didn’t give up, performing CPR until medics arrived.”
Ellison was transported to Ashe Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
“Your bravery and disregard for your own lives during this incident make me proud to be called your boss,” Williams said. “Your actions brought pride to this department, to your fellow officers. This is what we are trained to do.”
In a time where little positive is said about law enforcement, “Or the thankless job we do, the risk we take every single day on the job, I rest easier knowing that I have two fine officers who will go that extra step to serve and protect the citizens of Ashe County,” Williams wrote.
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058 or Twitter.com/AdamROrr.