Airmen, Soldiers save lives in local fire near Osan AB

  • Published
  • By 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Service members from the 51st and 8th Fighter Wings, and the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade stepped in to help four members of the community and an Airman escape from a building fire in the Songtan shopping district outside Osan Air Base, South Korea, April 29.

With no other choice available, the residents of the building had to consider exiting through the fourth story window. At that moment, service members were walking by and noticed the heat, fire and smoke billowing from the building.

Staff Sgt. Cierra Rogers, a 731st Air Mobility Squadron administrative assistant, was among the five individuals trapped inside the apartment. When the they began to smell smoke and noticed a fire broke out, she reacted quickly to help the mother and her children get out the building.

Rogers explained that after realizing they could not go through the main doors, she kicked through one of the windows leading to the apartment’s patio, which provided the only means of escape from the smoke and growing flames.

“From then I made a decision because you can easily die from choking on smoke,” Rogers said.

Despite the deep laceration she suffered from kicking through the glass, Rogers continued to push forward to get herself and the family closer to safety.

She looked down on the alley below. She attempted to scale down the building using wires near the patio. A few steps down she slid down the wire, falling 15 feet to the ground.

Several service members quickly rushed to her side to provide self-aid and buddy care until first responders arrived.

“All of sudden I saw the lady with kids,” said Tech Sgt. Stefan Haynes, a 51st Force Support Squadron passport official. “That’s when me, a father of five kids, was like, ‘no, this not going to happen.’”

With the help of local Korean vendors, service members gathered blankets and used them to break the fall from the fourth floor.

The mother and her three children landed safely in the blankets held by the Airmen and Soldiers.

Local first responders arrived minutes after the five escaped the building.

“I really appreciate what happened that very day. I don’t know how I can explain my thanks,” said Prince Enyioko, husband and father of the family that was saved. “Without them I don’t know what I would do – I am so grateful for the wisdom of the military men and women.”

A couple of days after the incident, Osan members involved in the rescue returned to the fire site to meet Enyioko so he could personally thank them all.