OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — It all started on January 13 around six in the morning. A woman, Abbey Lemaire, was in her bedroom when a fire broke out inside her home. Due to the heavy smoke trapping her inside and her ACL being torn, she thought her life was going to end.
“If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Abbey Lemaire. He is captain Charles LaJack. LaJack has been with the St. Landry Parish Fire District No. 3 for eight years. “I remember her begging and pleading that she didn’t want to die and not to let her die, and obviously that wasn’t gonna happen, so I did what I had to do to get her out of there,” said LaJack.
For the first time in his career as a firefighter, the captain saved a life. The captain said most of the time, firefighters are dispatched and told there’s someone in a house and just to go in and search, and they find no one there, or the person is already out. Lemaire was his first fire rescue.
“I literally saw the light. I literally saw it. I just thought about my family and how amends need to be made,” said Lemaire. She says she was trapped inside her bedroom, and LaJack helped her out from the window. “At that time, the only way I knew that we were gonna be able to get her out of there was to make an entrance through the window and get her up and out of the window, ” said the captain.
“He jumped to full action, just glass poking up everywhere. He just jumped through; no hesitation, and he’s a hero in my eyes,” she said.
Lemire’s neighbor, Rondra Francis, saw everything unfold. “I see my neighbor’s face in a puff of smoke, and at that point, you gotta help them. I just got my shovel, and I just bang out the window, and we couldn’t pull her out, but we propped her up enough so she could get some clean air,” said Francis.
Francis says he’s glad his neighbor is okay. “We can replace materialistic things, but people are irreplaceable,” said Francis.
Abbey Lemaire says life is too short. She is grateful she is alive today. She also wants to thank the other people who helped rescue her, such as Sgt. Morgan from the sheriff’s department and other rescue people.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Lemaire recover.