Tuesday night two heroes were honored for the part they played in saving the lives of two young girls after a fire at the Broadmeadow Place Apartments on May 17.
Quinten Weathers and Nick Bland were on hand to receive the Citizen Lifesaving Award, the fire department’s challenge coin and a gift card for each of them for IHOP.
“They stepped up, along with some other officials, to rescue two small children who were inside that apartment complex, so I’ve been in consultation with assistant (fire) chief (Richard) Griggs and (police) chief (Buddy) Lewis to honor those residents who literally saved lives that night. The members of that apartment complex came together as one,” Covington Mayor Justin Hanson said.
In a dramatic video shot by another resident, Bland and Weathers – along with Aaron Hall, who was not present Tuesday – could be seen climbing atop Bland’s Ford Explorer to reach a second-floor window where an infant and toddler were trapped inside the burning apartment.
“We went in and couldn’t find them, so we knew they had to be in the back,” said Weathers. “There was too much damage for us to get back there.”
Firefighters and police officers interviewed by The Leader since the incident say they’d have never thought to use the vehicle, but the men say they just used their resources.
“We asked for a ladder, they didn’t have one,” Weathers said. “(Bland) showed up right on time and asked, ‘Should I go get my car?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, go get your car ...’”
They broke a window, climbed inside and saved the two-year-old girl. Tipton County Fire Chief Jon Piercey, who arrived on scene just afterward, went into the apartment and saved the infant from an adjoining bedroom.
The girls, and two police officers who were attempting to rescue them, were treated for smoke inhalation and released from the hospital. No one was seriously injured in a fire that could have killed several people.
“The heroic efforts of everyone involved is a staple of what we do when someone’s in need,” Griggs said. “I want to commend the community members of the apartment complex, the strangers that stopped by to lend a hand, the lady with the baseball bat that busted the window, the young man that used his own car … to scale a second-story window just to go in and rescue these young children, the Tennessee Highway Patrol officers, Jon Piercey, the Covington police officers, they just would not give up. I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Bland and Weathers received a standing ovation from those in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting of the board of mayor and aldermen.
“It was just about the babies,” Weathers said, “the babies.”
Bland said he wasn’t at all concerned about his health or about his car.
“I had a guy come out screaming about his kids,” he said. “It was about life and death.”
They give credit for the rescue to a higher power.
“Glory be to God,” Weathers said. “It’s all God’s plan.”