Teachers Drop Picket Signs to Save Family From Fire

They break down door of Pennsylvania home, get 3 people out
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2016 7:15 AM CST
Teachers Drop Picket Signs to Save Family From Fire
Striking teachers in Ambridge.   (Ambridge Area Education Association)

A family in Pennsylvania was saved from a fire thanks to some sharp-eyed teachers—and the Ambridge Area School District's failure to agree to a new contract with their union. The striking teachers were walking the picket line Thursday morning when they spotted smoke rising from a house about a block away, dropped their pickets signs, and ran to help. Science teacher Karen DeMarco tells WPXI that after there was no answer when they banged on a door, they knocked it down instead of waiting for firefighters to arrive. "We found the lady of the house sitting in the one room, and there was several oxygen tanks there," DeMarco says. “We felt that we needed to get her out with the oxygen tanks. There was a daughter there and a grandfather there." "Everybody got out," says music teacher Todd Hartman.

Physical education teacher Jeff Modrovich and special education teacher Peter Keller also helped save the family from the fire, which ended up as a six-alarm blaze that destroyed the house, the Beaver County Times reports. "If the teachers wouldn't have been here, somebody wouldn't have observed that, there's a chance somebody could have been very seriously injured or even worse," says Ambridge Fire Chief Rob Gottschalk. DeMarco tells WTAE that the younger woman they rescued from the house turned out to be one of her former students. CBS reports that the teachers, who have been without a contract for almost 18 months, walked off the job Tuesday after negotiations broke down Monday night. (Motorists in Florida formed a human chain to save a man from a burning vehicle.)

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