Piedmont, AL – On Saturday, August 13, 2022, at approximately 4:00 am the Piedmont Police and Fire Departments were dispatched to a fire at the 100 block of Taylor Street. Off duty JSU Police Officer Steven Curvin first saw heavy smoke from the residential structure and notified the 911 center. Officer Curvin then attempted to gain entry into the house in an attempt to rescue the occupant. Due to heavy smoke inside the building, Curvin had to exit the building to gather clean air to breath. Piedmont Police Officers Solman Doss and Josh Parker were in the area of the fire when they received the fire notification from their dispatcher, and they immediately responded to the fire. Upon arrival Doss and Parker could see flames and heavy smoke coming from the house and initiated a second attempt to rescue the occupant. Doss and Parker were also overwhelmed with smoke and exited the building to get clean air, they then went back into the house and located a 71-year-old woman lying on the floor of the living room. They took the woman out of the residence where Officer Curvin also assisted in getting her away from the almost fully engulfed building.
Piedmont Police Chief, Nathan Johnson, stated that, “I am extremely proud that we have such an outstanding member of our community that is also a part of the law enforcement family. A police officer for JSU, Steven Curvin was off duty when he was alerted to the fire. He immediately ran towards danger and attempted to rescue another member of our community.” He continued by saying, “I am also very proud that my officers also put their own lives in jeopardy to help rescue the lady that was trapped in the fire. We want our community to know that we will do whatever it takes to keep them safe, no matter what time of day or night. Officers Parker and Doss were there to help and because of that we did not have a tragedy.” Chief Johnson also thanked the Piedmont Fire Department and the Piedmont Rescue Squad for their fast response to the emergency.
JSU Police Officer, Steven Curvin, spoke with the Calhoun Journal and said, “I was first alerted to the fire by my dog. I didn’t see any cars in the driveway, so I wasn’t sure if anyone was home. When I got off the phone with the 911 operator, I could hear someone yelling from inside the house. I immediately called 911 again and told them I could hear someone inside.” Officer Curvin was able to gain entry into the house but was confronted with “Heavy smoke as soon as I got into the house. I needed to get low to be able to get inside.” Officer Curvin kept searching for as long as he could until he needed to exit the building for air. When he exited the building, he saw the responding Piedmont Police officers and directed them to the location that he had gained entry.
The officers were treated at the scene with oxygen and the woman was transported to the hospital for treatment. The fire is still currently under investigation and no cause has been released.
Piedmont Fire Chief, Mike Ledbetter, advised that the call for service was received at 4:09 am and initially one pumper and one ladder truck were dispatched. As fire fighters began attacking the fire, they also requested another two pumpers for support. In total there were 12 firefighters on scene that worked to contain the fire to only that property. Chief Ledbetter said, “The house is a complete loss, the exterior is still standing, but the interior is gone. It is a dangerous building, and no one should be around it. The Chief also advised that the 71-year-old that was rescued from the house was transported to Gadsden Regional Medical Center and is currently in the ICU and on a ventilator. She is being treated for respiratory injuries and it is not believed that she sustained any burn injuries. Chief Ledbetter also said, “I also want to thank the heroic efforts of the police officers that rescued the lady. They were able to get her out of that building very quickly. I also want to thank the firefighters for their outstanding job knocking down that fire as quickly as they did.” The Piedmont Fire Department remained on the fire scene until approximately 7:00 am and then fire investigators took over.