by Emily Luxen
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As a woman struggles to recover from serious burns, her daughter is praising the first responders who saved her from a burning apartment.
Hazel Starnes, 67, is in critical but stable condition at the burn unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center with burns on her legs and one arm. Her daughter, Treavangula Spight Starnes, has been by her side each day in the hospital.
“She’s a fighter,” said Treavangula Spight Starnes. “She’s not giving up. She knows she has people to live for.”
Fire broke out at the Imperial Gardens Apartments in Smyrna last Wednesday morning. Both Hazel and Treavangula were home in their separate apartments at the time. After realizing her mother was still inside her apartment, Treavangula was scared.
“We tried to get her out, but the smoke knocked me back out,” she said.
Moments later, Smyrna Lt. Bart Myers arrived on the scene, and crawled into the apartment to rescue Hazel.
“He just went in there with no fire gear on,” said Treavangula Spight Starnes. “He’s an officer, not a fireman. He risked his life to go in there and get her.”
Lt. Myers said at the time, he was just doing his job.
“I would like to think all of us would have done the same thing,” said Lt. Myers. “The situation made it possible for me to help her out.”
Treavangula said she will always be grateful for his efforts.
“I remember I just kept telling him thank you, thank you,” she said. “They were all heroes.”
Hazel Starnes will be staying at Vanderbilt as she recovers, and then will be transferred to a rehabilitation center.
Smyrna Police said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.