March 22, 2012

News Release

For Immediate Release

Firefighters' Extraordinary Efforts Recognized

A dramatic rescue of two Springfield girls in a house fire at their grandmother's home on McDaniel Street last January, is one the of many heroic efforts to be recognized tonight at the Springfield Fire Department Annual Awards Banquet at 7 p.m. tonight, March 22, at Mercy C.H. Chub O'Reilly Cancer Center, 2055 S. Fremont.

Aleena Havens and Alexia Havens were ages 8 and 5 at the time and suffered burns on their arms, legs and torsos.They were hospitalized in critical condition after being rescued from their burning home by firefighters and a paramedic.

Joe Heath, a paramedic for Mercy EMS, was one of the first to arrive at the house at 1400 E. McDaniel St. He broke the window of a bedroom in back of the house and was able to get one of the girls out. Heath suffered smoke inhalation and was treated and released. Police officers were also trying to make their way into the back of the burning home when firefighters arrived.

Three firefighters: Capt. John "Rosie" Grier and rescue specialists Jeff Elliott and Scott Lambeth, were able to enter the house and use a thermal imaging camera to help find a second girl lying in bed in another room. It was "hot, dark, except for where the fire was," Elliot explained in news accounts. "I ran in and grabbed the girl." He estimated he was in the house for about 50 seconds.

A police officer was also taken to the hospital, and a firefighter suffered burns to his ears but was not taken to the hospital.

Both girls were treated at Mercy Burn Center and Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati for their severe burns. Family members say the girls will continue physical therapy and will need more surgeries as they grow.

Other awards to be presented tonight include:

Medical Life Save Award

The Department will also recognize former Springfield firefighters who passed away in the previous year: Curtis Eli Martin, March 17; Robert (Bob) L. Anderson, April 13; James R. (Jim) Cottengim, Oct. 12; and Howard E. Knapp, Dec. 12.

For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (mobile),

city of springfield fire

Springfield Fire Department

830 Boonville Ave., P.O. Box 8368, Springfield, MO 65801
417-864-1500 • FAX: 417-864-1505 •