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February 16, 2013

Jeffersonville first responders go beyond call of duty

Downtown fire victims provided new appliance

JEFFERSONVILLE — Through an expression of goodwill, Jeffersonville firefighters and police officers showed they don’t consider their jobs over just because they’ve cleared the scene of an emergency.

Edward Heston and Mary Sutton were all smiles as a small group of firefighters an electric stove into their new home Friday morning. The firefighters along with police officers delivered the appliance after the couple’s house burned Feb. 6.

Heston said the first responders acted out of nothing but the kindness of their hearts.

“It is just amazing,” he said. “I didn’t think people in this town would help you like that. I have never needed drastic help, but now I understand.”

Heston and Sutton’s home on the corner of Ninth and Watt streets burned to the ground after a vehicle struck the building and ruptured a gas line that fed the flames until the structure was flattened. Police said Wednesday that investigators are continuing efforts to locate the driver who fled the blue Volkswagen before authorities arrived.

Heston said he is appreciative of not only the first responders, but all those who have helped him cope with losing his home.

“The whole community pulled together to help me,” he said.

Heston said he is thankful to area churches, American Red Cross and the Jeffersonville Township Trustee’s office that have provided assistance. He said even local business have set up collection jars to raise money to help him get back on his feet.

Jeffersonville Fire Department Sgt. Matt McDowell, who also is local 558 Union president, was hands-on in getting the appliance for the couple.

“This guy obviously lost everything that he owned in the fire,” McDowell said. “We are just down here doing everything we can to help him get his new place lined up.”

He said the stove was purchased through community help funds raised through fundraisers — such as street dances and golf scrambles — held throughout the year.

While delivering appliances isn’t on the job descriptions of area first responders, McDowell said the goodwill effort is a step they are happy to take. He said first responders take pride in going the extra mile to help victims of crises.

“Doing things like this, and helping different organizations kind of shows who we really are as policemen and firemen in trying to be involved in the community,” McDowell said.

He also gave credit to Appliance and Repair, located on Ind. 62, that delivered and installed the appliance at no cost.

JPD Lt. Joe Hubbard, Jeffersonville Fraternal Order of Police president, mirrored McDowell’s comments that officers are prepared to go beyond the call of duty.

“It’s simply just reaching out the community. We are here to serve them, and they are here to support us,” Hubbard said. “It is more than just getting out here and writing tickets, making arrests and chasing down fires. We are out here to help the community as well.”

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YOU CAN HELP

• Police are still trying to locate the driver of a blue Volkswagen Jetta that hit and ruptured the gas line, causing the fire. Those with information should call 812-218-TIPS.

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