INDEPENDENCE, Ky. (WKRC) - A heroic rescue played out when a house went up in flames. The person who charged into the burning home to save a woman who used a wheelchair to get around was not a first responder, though. It was the woman's own sister.
It was a normal Wednesday morning for Tracy Beard when she went out at about 10:30 to let her cat onto the porch. That's when she noticed smoke and immediately called 911.
“She said to stay out of the house and not go in,” recounted Beard. “And I said, ‘I got to go in; my sister’s in there.’ She said, ‘No, you wait for them to come and get her.’ I said, ‘Nope, I’ve got to go get my sister.’”
Beard's elderly sister and her dogs were in the home when the flames began quickly spreading. The 911 operator warned Beard to stay out of the burning home.
“Yes. But she’s my sister. I take care of her and I love her,” Beard said. “My first responsibility is my sister.”
So Beard disregarded the 911 operator's orders and charged into the home, picking up her sister and carrying her outside to safety. But she wasn't done yet. She went back in to save her two dogs. When first responders arrived just a couple of minutes later, they found the flames were already spreading quickly.
“As far as getting the one woman outside of the house, you can’t describe how lucky she is,” said Capt. Jake Boyle with the Independence Police Department. “It was only a matter of seconds before the fire traveled through the house and the fire department had to break out the front windows to try to control that.”
Beard's sister was treated on site and released to some very relieved family and friends.
“You got a lot of boyfriends,” a family friend jested, regarding the EMTs who were tending to her.
As for Beard's home, a house built by her grandfather and parents in 1952--
“I guess I’m going to have to start all over again. That’s the way it’s looking,” Beard sighed. “All my pictures and everything -- all I have is what I have on my phone right now. Picture of my mom and dad, that’s gone, yeah.”
Beard shared with us one of those pictures from her phone -- the last Christmas her family will spend in their childhood home. But at least she still has her family, she says.
“You know, heck with everything else, as long as I get my sister and my animals ‘cause that’s my family, my babies, you know.”
The Red Cross was on site to assist Beard and her family. Boyle says this fire illustrates how important it is to make sure you have an escape plan in case of fire, especially if you have people in the home who may need extra help.