Chief Deputy Steve Harr and Lt. Connie Harr may be employees of the Davison County Sheriff's Office, but they weren't on duty Dec. 30 when they jumped into action to save a neighbor from a burning house.
The Harrs, who are both co-workers and spouses, were honored for their actions Wednesday afternoon at the Davison County Public Safety Center in Mitchell, and were each presented with a Life Saver's Award by Sheriff Steve Brink.
"It's no doubt that without the quick and selfless actions of Chief Deputy Harr and Lt. Harr, the family and community would have experienced a horrible tragedy that day," Brink read from a certificate.
While at home and off-duty in Mount Vernon, the Harrs heard on a police scanner that a house on West Second Street - two houses down from their own - was on fire. While one woman had managed to get outside, a woman in a wheelchair was trapped inside the house.
Chief Deputy Harr managed to get the front door of the burning house open, but there was too much smoke present for him to go inside.
"It was very smoky in that house," he said. "I could see maybe 10 inches in front of me."
When the Mount Vernon Volunteer Fire Department arrived, Chief Deputy Harr used an axe to break windows in order to ventilate the house as much as possible.
Lt. Harr and one of the firefighters were then able to get the woman out of the house. Once she was safely on the street in her wheelchair, Chief Deputy Harr went home, got his patrol car and used it to block the road so the firefighters could work without interruption.
The house itself was deemed a complete loss, but both women who were inside the house when the fire began were left uninjured.
"I'm just very glad everybody survived. Steve got the first lady out, and the only reason I was able to get in and get that elderly lady was because he took that axe and broke the window," Lt. Harr said Wednesday. "If he wasn't quick thinking and (hadn't) got that axe and broke that window, she would not have been rescued. Plain and simple."