Police sergeant puts out fire, saves occupant Blind resident slept during blaze in kitchen


After dousing a small kitchen fire that filled a Harper's Choice apartment with thick, black smoke, a Howard County police sergeant led a legally blind resident to safety -- all before firefighters could arrive.

About 7: 20 a.m. Sunday, Sgt. Mark Joyce went to the apartment complex in the 5900 block of Turnabout Lane after neighbors reported smelling smoke coming from 51-year-old Wayland Saddler's unit, police said.

As Joyce entered the apartment, "dark gray smoke" billowed out the doorway.

"I groped my way through the apartment to the kitchen," Joyce said. "I found this small trash can burning."

Joyce said he tried to stomp out the fire, but resorted to throwing cupfuls of water on it from a sink.

After leaving the apartment to clear his lungs, Joyce re-entered and found Saddler sleeping, unaware that his smoke detector was sounding.

"I just jostled him awake and kind of pulled him off his bed," Joyce said.

Howard County firefighters, who arrived a few minutes later, said Joyce made their jobs easier.

"You have to admire a guy for putting himself in danger for someone else," said Capt. Sean Kelly, a fire department spokesman.

Pub Date: 3/24/98

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad