Fire department honors local citizen life-savers

Quick thinking, medical know-how made difference

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

 
photoAnne McEnerny-Ogle saved a woman's life during bike ride.
photoDerek McCarty, left, saved stranger’s life on roadside.

(/The Columbian)

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Anne McEnerny-Ogle's quick thinking saved the life of woman who was having a heart attack.

Talynia Richardson and Jenna Horan put out a couch fire and pulled a man from a burning building.

Derek McCarty performed CPR on a heroin addict who had overdosed, saving the man's life.

Tuesday evening, the Vancouver Fire Department awarded these four citizens with the Life-Saving Award for going above and beyond what's expected.

Anne McEnerny-Ogle, 58, was cycling with Boy Scout Troop 525. The troop had just come out of Crater Lake on their first leg of a 200-mile ride.

A 52-year-old mother of one of the Scouts was lagging behind everyone else. She thought she had altitude sickness.

"But her coloring wasn't good," McEnerny-Ogle said.

When she looked back to check on her, the woman was sitting on the side of the road vomiting. She said she had a headache. McEnerny-Ogle gave her some water and then they caught up with the Scouts.

As they were biking on the pumice fields, however, the woman said she wanted to go back to camp.

"I asked her how are you doing? What is your body telling you?" McEnerny-Ogle said.

When the woman told McEnerny-Ogle her symptoms, which included tightness in her chest, McEnerny-Ogle started to think something was wrong. Her training as a Scoutmaster and Vancouver Fire Corps volunteer told her that the symptoms were more serious than altitude sickness.

She couldn't get cell service, so McEnerny-Ogle brought the woman back to her car and drove to the entrance to Crater Lake National Park. There, she had the park service call 911.

By the time McEnerny-Ogle got back to car, the woman had already collapsed. She had no pulse and her skin was a blue-gray color.

"I think that image is still something I'm trying to erase from my memory," McEnerny-Ogle said.

She lifted up the woman, put her on the side of the road and started performing CPR.

And it started working.

"The success of when you start to see the body breathe and the eyes flicker, it's a phenomenal feeling," McEnerny-Ogle said.

When the the rest of the troop got to the entrance, she told her husband to call for a doctor. She continued CPR and mouth-to-mouth for about 10 minutes till an ambulance came. The woman was taken by helicopter to Medford Medical Center. She had suffered a massive heart attack.

But because of McEnerny-Ogle's intervention and quick-thinking, the woman survived, officials said.

"We're having a barbecue with her next Monday," McEnerny-Ogle said.

Reacting to a fire

Talynia Richardson, 21, and Jenna Horan, 21, were sleeping in their apartment at the Meadow Wood complex on Northeast 121st Avenue on March 22 around 10 p.m. when they woke up to the smell of smoke. Their back patio was engulfed in smoke. Richardson told Horan to call 911 while Richardson knocked on an elderly neighbor's door to get him out of the apartment building.

Then, Richardson went to the apartment below hers, where the smoke was coming from, and knocked on the door. No one answered. She went around back, busted through the back window into the apartment where she saw a couch on fire.

She started pouring apple juice and soda on the couch. Horan filled buckets of water and poured them on the couch until the fire was out. They carried the burnt couch through the front door and dropped it into the parking lot.

Richardson noticed there was a car in the tenant's parking spot. Someone was still in the building. The two went back into the apartment and found a man passed out in his bed. He said he had too much cough syrup and wouldn't move.

So, Richardson and Horan carried him -- as he kicked them -- out of the apartment.

"I think that was the worst workout ever," Richardson said.

She said the fire started because the man left his smoking drugs next to the couch, along with a bottle of cough syrup and a bottle of whiskey.

"I've been through a fire before. I lost everything," Richardson said. She stepped in because she didn't want anyone else to go through what she did.

The family of the man who was asleep during the fire sent the women bouquets of flowers and gift cards.

"We didn't ask for this. We just wanted him to be all right," Richardson said.

Richardson had gone through the medical training program at Heritage High School, but her certification was long expired.

CPR in a hurry

Derek McCarty, 21, stopped at the AM-PM on Northeast 112th Avenue in the evening March 17 around 9 p.m. to fill up on gas before he drove his girlfriend home.

As he pulled in, however, he saw a man lying on the ground who didn't look like he was breathing. The car lurched, his girlfriend Emily Dorn said, because he put it in park and jumped out of the car before it fully stopped.

McCarty said the man had overdosed on heroin and had his heroin spoon next to him. He went back to the car for his CPR mask and used the mask to perform CPR on the man. At the time, McCarty was nearly finished with his EMT training course.

"All the protocols were going through my head real fast," he said.

McCarty continued to do CPR while the paramedics treated the man, who survived.

"I would definitely want to do this all of the time," McCarty said. "Ever since I was little, I liked to help people. I didn't expect an award. I didn't need one. I was just doing what needed to be done." He's looking for a job as an EMT while he continues studying to become a paramedic.

Highest honor

James Bray, who was unable to attend the ceremony, won a Fire Medal -- the highest civilian award presented by the Vancouver Fire Department. He saved a man from a burning car near Grand and McLoughlin boulevards.