Bethel student rescues woman from burning house

MCKENZIE, Tenn. — It started out like a regular Tuesday for Bethel student Joe McClosky. He stepped out of his house and went to his mailbox, then he noticed something right across the street.

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“I was walking back from putting the mail in the mailbox, and I noticed some smoke coming from the window and kind of around the door of this house behind me,” McClosky said. “I noticed it and I realized that just doesn’t look like regular smoke that should be coming out of the house.”

Another person pulled up to the scene, and called 911.

Joe’s suspicion proved correct. A fire had started in a neighbors house, and someone was still stuck inside.

“I knocked on the door, kind of opened it up, and yelled in there to see if anyone was in there. And I heard a lady in there,” McClosky said. “Put my shirt over my mouth, and went in the first time, looking for her. I could hear her but I couldn’t really see anything. Because of all the smoke. I went out and got a breath, put my shirt back over my nose. Went a different way in the house, and found her right near in the kitchen.”

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Joe grabbed the woman by the arm and helped her out of the house.

“Told her it was time to get out of there, it was probably going to get on fire pretty soon,” McClosky said.

The woman he saved was Barbara Mitchell.

While she didn’t want to speak on camera, she was more than willing to tell Joe how thankful she is for his actions, as well as those of the McKenzie Fire Department.

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“It was definitely an act of bravery. He entered the structure in a smoke filled condition,” said McKenzie Fire Department Chief Brian Tucker.

“Fire department showed up and I was like, well…. did something good,” McClosky said. “God put me at the right place at the right time. That’s for sure.”

Some call Joe heroic, but he says he just did what he had to do.

“I don’t think of it that way because I’m not big on all the attention. I was just helping somebody out. I mean these guys from the fire department do it all the time. It’s good to be able to see her and see that she’s okay,” McClosky said.

McClosky is going to Bethel for business management, and is also on the school’s bass fishing team.

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