Honoring a Long Distance Hero


 It was a Wednesday morning in late February, when Larry Silha of Coon Valley noticed something was wrong.

“For me, what happened is that I got a combustion air door and one of those pieces of woods must’ve popped and kicked the spark out of the doors, and that’s what lit it. And the next thing I knew, since I loaded it in maybe twenty minutes to half hour, all the sudden the alarms went off,” said Silha.

As the smoke started to overtake the Silha house, a call to 911 was placed, but from 1,300 miles away by ADT Dispatcher, Angelica Parker in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Silha’s credit working smoke detectors, ADT and the Coon Valley Fire Department for preventing the fire from being worse than it was.

“For us not even to have to make the call, and someone was, you know, like overseeing us and being able to administrate all the things that we needed here at the time, it’s pretty reassuring to know that we didn’t have to. Cause I don’t even know if (Larry) would’ve gotten to the phone to make a call,” said Diane Silha.

Tuesday, the Silha’s met Parker for the first time at the site of the fire, where she was honored with the ADT Life Saver award.

“You never think that when you are making these phone calls that, you know you just hope that everybody’s okay on the other end. And you don’t think that—it’s just hard to think about something not being, you know, okay,” said Parker.

After the 911 call was placed, the Coon Valley Fire Department, and others around the region, spent upwards of ten hours battling the blaze.

While there was extensive damage to the house, there were no injuries and some of the Silha’s valuables were spared thanks to the fire department and a quick call by ADT.

As appreciation to the volunteer department, ADT also presented the Coon Valley Fire Rescue Team with $5,000.

“I’ve got a budget of about $30,000 a year, so this really will go a long way and we’ve had two major fires this year. About four weeks earlier, we had another major house fire down by Chaseburg and a generator that kind of took a dump on us. So this is going to help buy a new generator for the truck,” said Coon Valley Fire Department Chief Russ Cornford.

For now, the Silha’s are staying in an apartment and say they are just happy to be okay, thanks to the work of so many.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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