Local heroes honored

MINDEN -- Six people who helped rescue a family from a burning building were honored in Douglas County on Thursday.

Douglas County commissioners handed out plaques to the men and women who helped save the Collins family from the April fire in Gardnerville.

The six individuals honored were Colleen Goulart, Roxanne Burton, John Scott, Victor Carter, Rick Romano and Stacey Holst.

Scott, 58, a State Farm agent who sells fire insurance, was southbound on Highway 395 on his way to work when he saw smoke that morning.

"Across the street from Woodett's Diner, on my way to my office southbound on 395, I saw smoke coming from the building and made a U-turn to look at it. I thought it (the smoke) was coming from a vehicle in the parking lot, but then I saw a lot of people in the parking lot and saw it was a house. I called 911," Scott said.

"Smoke and flames were coming out of the windows, fire was lapping up the eaves, it was a pretty windy day, and at that point I heard a young girl scream," Scott said.

Scott went over a fence and upstairs to the second story before breaking a door to get into the structure.

"I hit it three times really hard; it was pretty hot. I forced my way in. It seemed they had collapsed behind the door. The little girl was the closest one so I grabbed her," Scott said.

Scott pulled out three people slumped on the other side: first, Rick Collins, 44, second, 19-year-old Jenny Collins and, Cody Collins.

A human chain was formed on the staircase to help move the injured to safety.

Rick Romano, owner of Woodett's Diner across the street from the fire, helped Scott pull the girl to safety and Victor Carter helped him pull the young man out.

"Everyone came out OK. They were all unconscious when we got to them except the one gal, Jenny, who had already made her way out."

Scott also said the victims appeared to have suffered burns and were unable to stand when he pulled them out.

Rick Collins' niece, 15-year-old Tina Ellington, alerted people by running from the apartment yelling fire.

Donations of clothing, dishes, silverware, towels, or anything that can be donated to the family can be dropped off at 1489 Highway 395 at John D. Limb's Office. A savings account has been established at the Bank of America for the Collins family: Account No. 004965603166.

"It's a humbling experience, we're happy that the people are OK. There were a lot of people that got moving and that made the difference," Scott said on receiving his award.

Cody Collins was discharged from the UMC Burn Center May 31.


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