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Plumbers save lives after spotting apartment fire

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

Tuesday was supposed to be a normal work day for Robert Ridgeway, a quick plumbing job at an apartment complex on Harrodsburg Lane, in Frankfort, then on to the next assignment. However, "normal" didn't last long.

"I turned around and looked and just seen smoke," recalled Ridgeway. "I kind of walked around the trees to look and the next thing I know I just see the back of the house in flames!"

Just before noon, a fire broke out behind a building of six apartments. Ridgeway says he didn't think but just reacted.

"I just dropped everything I had in my hands and ran towards it and just started banging on doors, windows, anything I could."

Ridgeway and his co-worker, who happened to be celebrating his birthday today, sprang into action.

"The upper floor was completely in smoke and we asked if anybody was up there, they (residents) told us, 'No,' and that's why the guy coming out of the second floor window kind of surprised us."

"I opened up my bedroom door to the living room, and it was all black. I opened up my window, pushed the screen out, and there was a guy running around," described Chad Howard.

"I put my arms up and yelled, 'JUMP!" finished Ridgeway, who broke Howard's fall.

Howard said all of the noise that Ridgeway and the others were making was just enough to wake him up. He got out just in time.

"As soon as I jumped and got out over to here (away from the building) it just engulfed the whole thing."

In all of the chaos, neither Howard nor Ridgeway got the chance to introduce themselves, leaving each to wonder who the other was.

"Wherever he is, I want to say thanks to him," said Howard.

"I'm not a hero.That's what I have been telling everybody all day, they're like 'Oh, you did good.' No. I did what any person that would be in my spot should do and would do," said Ridgeway, humbly, "I still don't even know their names, but I'm glad they're alright."

Ridgeway says it was back to work after that, where he and his co-worker finished their assignment and moved on. Though he says he still couldn't believe the building he just ran into was reduced to char and ash.

"Definitely sounds like something out of a movie," marveled Ridgeway.

The Frankfort Fire Department said this was a potentially deadly fire, adding that it was fortunate no one was badly injured or killed. Although, Howard's roommate did lose several pets in the fire.

The Frankfort police say they were called to the scene to assist the fire department in finding answers to what may have sparked the fire. Investigators say the case is active and ongoing.

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