Brave neighbors, officers rescue man from Jackson apartment fire

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – A Jackson man is recovering in the hospital after being rescued from his burning home by officers and neighbors.

The fire happened just after midnight Thursday on the 200 block of West Franklin Street outside downtown Jackson.

Calls for help outside their home woke up Tammie Wirebaugh and her family in the middle of the night.

“The house next door was on fire,” Wirebaugh said.

The fire was happening on the second floor of the four unit apartment building next to Wirebaugh’s house.

Wirebaugh, her husband, and a friend, Laurie Rice, who lives in the building, helped a man trapped inside.

“She actually pulled him out of the apartment. He and the couch were on fire. Laurie saved his life. If it wasn’t for her, he would have been burnt right up,” Wirebaugh said.

Wirebaugh’s husband put out flames on the victim with a garden hose.

The building is right across from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy at the office saw flames and rushed over to help.

Deputy James Moore and Jackson Police Department Officer Mike Galbreath carried the man down the back stairs to safety.

“It’s a dangerous profession. You don’t realize all the things we do that aren’t necessarily law enforcement related. And in this case, fire related. I’m real proud of the guys that jumped in and did what they did,” said Sheriff Steve Rand of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim, 58-year-old Joseph Cummings, was taken to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation.

He’s now in stable condition.

A firefighter was treated on the scene for burns to one of his ears.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

While it was a scary thing to go through, Wirebaugh is thankful for the quick work of everyone involved.

“Oh yeah it hits home when it’s right there and you’re dealing with all of it,” Wirebaugh said.

The rest of the residents are getting help from the American Red Cross while city officials look to see if the building can be saved.


UPDATE 12:15 p.m. – Investigators now say the fire began when the victim fell asleep while smoking. Police have identified the victim as Joseph Cummings, 58, of Jackson. A firefighter received burns to one of his ears and was treated at the scene.

JACKSON, Mich (WLNS) – Quick-thinking by a Jackson County Sheriff’s deputy and a Jackson Police officer were the key to a dramatic rescue overnight.

It all began just after midnight when a fire was reported on the 200 block of West Franklin Street, directly across from the Sheriff’s Office on Wesley Street.

A deputy noticed flames coming from the second story and neighbors told him they believed a man was inside.

Deputy James Moore and Jackson Police Officer Mike Galbreath saw a man on a second story balcony.

When they realized the man could not get himself to safety the two rescuers ran up the stairs into the burning building and carried the man to safety.

The injured man was taken to Henry Ford Allegiance Health and then flown to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation.

Investigators are working to find a cause of the fire.

Deputy Moore and Officer Galbreath were a little smoky but not injured during the rescue.

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