GPSD Maintenance Workers share their story after saving 2 lives during house fire

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — 2 Grants Pass School District maintenance workers are being recognized as heroes after they helped prevent what could have been a deadly situation.

2 weeks ago, Brian Hageman and Kevin Bishop’s workday took a drastic turn as they noticed black smoke while driving in town.

“We were driving past, I look back and saw some smoke coming out of the upper window of a house and I said, ‘Hey man, I think this house is on fire,” said Hageman. “Yeah. The house was on fire,” added Bishop.

The workers say they pulled over right away and went up to the home to see if help was needed – and it was.

Pictured: Heroes Kevin Bishop and Kevin Hageman

“We were approaching the house, looked up at the window where the smoke was coming out, and saw movement in the window. The mom that we found out was trying to get her daughter out the window and was just going to drop her,” said Bishop.

Little did Hageman and Bishop know that the mother, her 3-year-old child, and a dog had been upstairs taking a nap when the fire started. The two men jumped into action right away, calling 91-1 and offering to catch the child.

“It was like, I’m here, I’ll catch her, drop her. She did finally get her in the position and caught her. Then, she started shoving the dog out the window, slowed him down, he ran off, then she jumped out and we slowed her down but couldn’t catch her from the 2nd story window,” Hageman said.

The heroes say the whole ordeal lasted around 5 minutes before first responders showed up and took over the scene.

Hageman and Bishop proceeded to get back to work.

“The interesting part is these two gentlemen were doing their daily work and noticed something wasn’t right, and it doesn’t take special training to do what’s right. Both these gentleman were not there when I arrived on-scene, they had left, to continue their duties,” said Grants Pass Fire Rescue Battalion Chief, Lloyd Lawless. He honored the humble workers via Zoom at the school’s virtual board meeting Tuesday night.

“If not for the quick action of these two gentlemen, the volume of fire and heated gases on the first floor that quickly advanced to the second floor could’ve consumed both mother and child – on behalf of Grants Pass Fire Rescue, we would like to honor and say thank you for your life-saving measures,” he said.

The gentlemen say they hope their heroic efforts inspire others to do the right thing in any similar circumstances.

“We were there when we needed to be, and we did what we needed to do and went about our day,” said Hageman.

“[I] just hope more people will do the right thing, you know, if it comes up again – stop and help somebody,” said Bishop.

The heroes also saved the family’s cat from the first floor.

Battalion Chief Lawless says the mother and child are okay.

NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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