363d ISR Wing NCO action’s saves life from potential fire
By Tech. Sgt. AJ Hyatt, 363d Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 09, 2021
JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va -- (Editor’s Note: The last name and location of the Airmen in this article has been withheld for operational security purposes.)
As she was on her way to work with her daughter, one Airman from an undisclosed location, noticed an odd reflection on a house ahead. As she got closer, she saw smoke and was able to determine it was sparks and fire from an electrical box on the back side of a home. Instead of continuing her way to work or waiting for someone else to respond, she jumped into action.
It was around 7 a.m. on Sept. 22, 2021, when Staff Sgt. Kali, a non-commissioned officer with the 363d Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, decided to quickly turn her car around and step up. She then saw a teenage boy coming back across the road and a teenage girl on her phone, both who seemed to be waiting on the school bus.
“I asked the girl if anyone had called 9-1-1 and she confirmed she had,” Kali said.
Kali then parked her car on the other side of the road [opposite to the house] and called her husband to ensure he stayed on the phone with their daughter. Since, their house was only two miles away, Kali’s husband was able to get to the scene within a few minutes.
“I told him where we were, the closest landmarks, and what was happening,” she said. “Once I relayed the pertinent information of our location, I let him know my daughter would be alone in the car and for him to talk to her while I helped.”
“There were no other cars stopping so I knew I had to do something,” Kali said. “My daughter has always been a big fan of Daniel Tiger show on PBS, so all I could think of was to be the helper. The quote goes something like ‘when you see scary things in real life or in the news look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping.’ So when I looked around and didn’t see any helpers, I knew it was my turn.”
When it came time, Kali started knocking and banging on all the windows and doors around the house to try and wake up anyone who was in the home.
“At the time, I wasn’t sure how many people, if any, were inside,” she said. “All you could hear was the popping sounds.
While she ran around the home, a man approached the house and told Kali that an older man lived there alone.
“While it felt like forever [to find the homeowner], it was probably less than five minutes from the time I was knocking on the windows and door to the time I was able to walk him out of the house,” said Kali.
After knocking with no responses or sounds from inside the house, the decision was made to break a small panel on the front door to unlock and gain entry. Once entry was made into the home, the older man was able to be located and awoken.
“The man was very confused,” she said. “He stated that he heard us knocking on the windows and doors but thought he was dreaming. You could tell he was anxious and just wanted it to be over.”
Once the older man was ready, Kali helped grab his important items such as his keys and wallet and they vacated the home.
As they waited for the firemen and EMTs to arrive, the homeowner informed Kali that he needed to go back inside to get his medication.
“Instead of him going in to get it, he was able to tell me where the medication was located, and I went in the home to retrieve it,” she said. “Around this time, the fire department and EMTs arrived and put out the flames.”
Once he was given the clear and the fire department was there controlling the scene, Kali continued with her day.
“Kali is one of the most dedicated, hardworking, and reliable people I have ever had work for me,” said Master Sgt. Richard, Kali’s supervisor. “I know that I can always rely on her to do the right thing, every time. She is a ‘fire and forget’ type of NCO.”
Kali hasn’t seen the homeowner since the incident, but she plans to visit and check up on him soon.