ALBANY — Sometimes the weirdest things can turn out to be blessings or miracles.
Two senior women were saved from a duplex fire on Monday morning by two neighbors, who are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and a motorist driving past.
The blaze occurred at about 10:10 a.m. in the 500 block of 22nd Avenue S.E.
“It was all a blessing. Everyone’s okay and that’s the biggest thing,” said Jana Shumway of Lehigh, Utah.
“Normally, we’re out of our apartment at 10 o’clock to do missionary work. We just kept staying around,” said Heather Munford of North Odgen, Utah.
Even on Mondays, a preparation day, the missionaries are usually grocery shopping or doing other errands by 10 a.m.
The fire apparently affected only one half of the duplex, and a dog that was in the residence also made it out to safety.
The two senior women were being given medical treatment outside the fire on Monday morning, and one was taken from the scene via ambulance.
“We’re currently trying to figure out how to care for them in multiple ways — housing, medical, transportation,” said Sandy Roberts, Albany Fire Department spokeswoman.
Albany Fire Department and Albany Police Department both had multiple units respond to the blaze. The cause of the fire remained under investigation Monday morning.
Duplex owner Burl Smith said he had insurance on the duplex, but the fire was a setback. He added that when he heard about the fire, he was immediately concerned for the safety of the residents, who have mobility issues.
Shumway said the fire was “scary.” “It was more smoking than flames, but it was pretty bad smoke,” she added.
She heard yelling from the neighbors, alerted Munford, and the two went out to assist the older women.
“They were both trying to get out of the house,” Munford said. “All I knew is we had to get them out of there and get them away.”
The passer-by, who had parked her car, gave one of the senior women a bear hug and carried her to safety, the missionaries said. The three good Samaritans helped the other woman to a safe area.
“It really was a blessing for that lady to be here,” Shumway said.
“Everything that happened was a miracle,” Munford said.
“And we were so thankful for the paramedics and firefighters who helped. They did such a wonderful job,” Shumway added.
Kyle Odegard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.