Lima firefighter’s heroism recognized


By J Swygart - jswygart@limanews.com



State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey, left, and Lima firefighter Matt Hammons speak with 6-year-old Landyn Douglas during a ceremony Friday at the Lima Central Fire Station. Hammons was recognized for his heroics in rescuing Douglas from a burning home last fall.

State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey, left, and Lima firefighter Matt Hammons speak with 6-year-old Landyn Douglas during a ceremony Friday at the Lima Central Fire Station. Hammons was recognized for his heroics in rescuing Douglas from a burning home last fall.


J Swygart | The Lima News

Landyn Douglas, who suffered burns over 50 percent of his body in a Lima home fire in November, is pictured with some of the firefighters who responded to the blaze.

Landyn Douglas, who suffered burns over 50 percent of his body in a Lima home fire in November, is pictured with some of the firefighters who responded to the blaze.


J Swygart | The Lima News

State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey talks with Landyn Douglas, who was rescued from a burning home last November by Lima firefighters.


J Swygart | The Lima News

Landyn Douglas got the opportunity to tour the Lima Central Fire Station on Friday.


J Swygart | The Lima News

Lima firefighter Matt Hammons visited Landy Douglas at his school when the youngster returned to the classroom after being seriously injured in a November house fire in Lima.


Submitted photo

LIMA — Lima Fire Department Captain George Davis on Friday recounted how, during an early-morning house fire last November, fellow firefighter Matt Hammons begged his superior officer to be allowed to enter the fully-engulfed second story of the burning building.

The fireman affectionately known around Lima’s Central Fire Station as “Reggie” told Davis he heard a child crying for help.

“Reggie just kept saying, ‘Let me go. I can hear him,’” Davis recalled. “He kept insisting.”

So Davis gave the go-ahead for Hammons to enter an area of the home that placed the Lima firefighter in great personal peril.

What happened next was a series of life-changing and life-saving events. Hammons climbed the stairs to the second level of the burning home and found 6-year-old Landyn Douglas in the hallway, crying for help. Intense heat kept the firefighter from carrying the child back down the stairwell, so he located a window and passed Landyn — who at that point had become unresponsive — out the window to a fellow firefighter and into safe hands.

Hammons then descended the stairs, again risking his life to do so.

Hammons said he was merely reacting to the training he has undergone, and continues to receive daily, as a member of the Lima Fire Department.

“We have daily training here at the department, and on that day I just had to fall back on my instincts,” Hammons said.

Young Landyn suffered third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body and spent nearly three months in Shriners Hospital in Cincinnati receiving treatment for those injuries.

According to his grandmother and legal guardian, Hellen Douglas, Landyn returned to school earlier this year. Hammons was there that day as well.

“Landyn and Matt have a real bond,” Douglas said. “He (Hammons) even called Landyn that night after his first day of school and asked him how it went.”

State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey, who was in Lima Friday to present Hammons with an Ohio State Fire Marshal Heroism Award, said the instincts exhibited by Hammons “saved a life, and that’s a gift to the community and to this family.”

Lima Fire Chief Bruce Black said the entire B Team that responded to the fire at 625 Elm St. that morning did outstanding work. “But especially Matt. He selflessly did his job, and it was a heck of a job,” Black said.

By receiving the herosim award, Hammons automatically has been placed into consideration for additional recognition at the State Fire Marshal’s annual hall of fame ceremony in September.

State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey, left, and Lima firefighter Matt Hammons speak with 6-year-old Landyn Douglas during a ceremony Friday at the Lima Central Fire Station. Hammons was recognized for his heroics in rescuing Douglas from a burning home last fall.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/04/web1_Landyn-and-hero-Matt.jpgState Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey, left, and Lima firefighter Matt Hammons speak with 6-year-old Landyn Douglas during a ceremony Friday at the Lima Central Fire Station. Hammons was recognized for his heroics in rescuing Douglas from a burning home last fall. J Swygart | The Lima News
Landyn Douglas, who suffered burns over 50 percent of his body in a Lima home fire in November, is pictured with some of the firefighters who responded to the blaze.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/04/web1_Landyn-and-B-Crew.jpgLandyn Douglas, who suffered burns over 50 percent of his body in a Lima home fire in November, is pictured with some of the firefighters who responded to the blaze. J Swygart | The Lima News
State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey talks with Landyn Douglas, who was rescued from a burning home last November by Lima firefighters.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/04/web1_Landyn-and-state-fire-marshall.jpgState Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey talks with Landyn Douglas, who was rescued from a burning home last November by Lima firefighters. J Swygart | The Lima News
Landyn Douglas got the opportunity to tour the Lima Central Fire Station on Friday.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/04/web1_Landyn-and-fre-truck.jpgLandyn Douglas got the opportunity to tour the Lima Central Fire Station on Friday. J Swygart | The Lima News
Lima firefighter Matt Hammons visited Landy Douglas at his school when the youngster returned to the classroom after being seriously injured in a November house fire in Lima.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/04/web1_Matt-and-Landyn-2.jpgLima firefighter Matt Hammons visited Landy Douglas at his school when the youngster returned to the classroom after being seriously injured in a November house fire in Lima. Submitted photo

By J Swygart

jswygart@limanews.com

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