On Thursday morning, Sept. 14, my husband and I were roused by a siren and voices shouting at us to leave the house immediately. Demetrius Buzier, a park ranger on his way to work, spotted smoke, called the fire department and prompted EMS to respond immediately. He waited trying to waken us until EMS arrived with its siren. Our car, parked under the house, had suddenly broken into fire, particularly dangerous because of its proximity to a propane tank, plus our car had nearly a full tank of gas. The situation was serious and very dangerous.

Throughout the battle to douse the fire’s blaze and save our home, we witnessed remarkably brave firefighters as well as caring individuals who expressed concern fo0r our wellbeing and peace of mind. Our incredibly supportive neighbors were there almost as soon as the fire truck to shelter, calm, and reassure us that we had a place to stay no matter what happened.

Fortunately our house was largely spared. My husband and I can’t possibly express fully our appreciation and gratitude for the behavior and the professionalism of these individuals. Many who came to our aid were volunteers, but their total commitment to our safety was anything but amateur. We have always supported those charities that raise funds for protection services, but after today’s experiences, we’ll redouble our efforts.

Because of park ranger Buzier, EMS responders, firefighters, deputies, neighbors, Sheriff Smith and other individuals who came to our rescue, we still have our home and our own beds at night. Many of these people risked their own lives on our behalf. We are deeply grateful for their professionalism and their compassion.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank all of those who responded.

Ron and Sandy Ratliff

St. George Island