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Lyons Firefighters Hailed as Heroes

HOMETOWN HERO —The Lyons Housing Authority publicly recognized Citizen Lilly Ranew for her response to the duplex fire last year by naming her 'Lyons Housing Authority Hometown Hero.' Ranew was alerted to the fire by her dog Angel, and quickly called emergency services for help. Here, Ranew (center) stands with Lyons Housing Authority Director Stan Bazemore (left) and Lyons Housing Authority Executive Director Shawnee M. Gunn.

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Lyons firefighters were honored last week for their “exceptional bravery” in saving two lives in a March 17, 2021, fire at a Lyons public housing duplex.

“You could not ask for better help,” said Lyons Housing Authority Director Stan Bazemore in his commendation of the firefighters during a Lyons City Council session on January 4. “They were there in 3 to 5 minutes; that is exceptional bravery and dedicated service.”

Bazemore continued, “We all know the Lyons Fire Department is the best in the state. I have been a citizen of Lyons for almost 50 years, and I can recall it has always been outstanding. Yet, they proved their case on March 17, 2021 in the wee hours of the morning, when they saved two lives.” Bazemore was joined by former duplex residents Terrie Colson and her daughter Jamie Lynn. Colson and Lynn were among many who resided in the duplex at the time of the fire, and were the two individuals injured most seriously in the tragedy.

Following the fire, Colson was transported to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta where she spent one month in intensive care. Lynn was also transported to the same burn center where she received intensive care for three months before returning home for extended care and recovery. Lynn has recently fully recovered from her injuries and hosted a pizza party prior to the January 4 Council meeting for the firefighters who rescued her. During the party, Colson told the men, “Every time someone asks how Jamie is doing, she says, ‘I’m alive, thanks to the Lyons Fire Department.’” During the meeting, Colson and Lynn publicly thanked the firefighters for their service. “First, let me thank the angels that ran into a burning building and pulled my daughter and me out,” Colson commented. “Flames, it was incredible, and the smoke was so thick you could not see your hand in front of your face; but these men still went in there and got us out.” Lynn added, “From the bottom of my heart, I just have to thank the firefighters who saved my life.”

Lyons Fire Chief Darel Corley accepted a plaque with the Firefighter’s Prayer engraved on it as a token of appreciation from the Housing Authority and the individuals whose lives were saved. “It is you as a collective group that make our city safe from fire, and we cannot thank or recognize you enough to share how much we appreciate you. I know I speak for every citizen when I say that,” Bazemore said.

Lyons Mayor Willis NeSmith also shared his praise for the fire department’s work. “I’d like to thank our fire department again for all they do,” he said. “I know a lot of people don’t realize the training which you all go through and how much time is put into your work. We as a city thank you all for all you do.”

Housing Authority Hometown Hero

Lyons Housing Authority also publicly recognized former duplex resident Lilly Ranew and her dog for their heroic actions during the tragedy. Bazemore presented Ranew with the Lyons Housing Authority Hometown Hero award to commend her for her actions, which saved many lives. “Ms. Lilly was living in the duplex that the fire was in,” Bazemore explained. “Thanks to her and the Good Lord, she was our angel. In fact, she has a little dog, and his name is Angel; he’s the one that alerted her the night of the fire. She got out of the house and called 911, which contacted the Lyons Fire Department.” Bazemore said the unit was a complete loss but only Colson and Lynn were injured—statistics that would have been much different if Ranew had not immediately called for help. He added, “Ms. Lilly got out without any injuries, but they lost everything they had, so they had to start life back over. Since then, we’ve provided them with another unit, and we’re very thankful the Good Lord showed His mercies that night and helped.”

Ranew told attendees of the Council session how impressed and thankful she was for those who responded. “Y’all were there within 2 to 5 minutes, and I just thank each and every one of you,” she remarked adding, “I appreciate all the firefighters and their families. I thank you all so much, especially the one who went into my kitchen and saved personal things I desperately needed.”

Mayor NeSmith spoke of his admiration of Ranew. “You’re an outstanding citizen,” he told Ranew. “You’re the kind of citizen that makes this town great to live in. Thank you!”

Lyons Development Authority Sworn In During the Council session’s first meeting of the new year, members of the newly-reinstated Lyons Development Authority (LDA) took their oaths of offices. The LDA has been dormant for five decades and was approved last month to be reestablished for the purpose of bettering the downtown area. Parthiv Thakore, Rebecca Rollins, Marcia Moore, George Powell, and Mitchell Shook were all sworn in by Toombs County Magistrate/Probate Judge Tina Lindsey as active members of the Authority.

New Council Members

While John Moore, Jr., took the oath of office for his second term as Ward 4 Councilman, Cathy Benton and Tracy Johnson officially joined the Council, as they were sworn in on January 4.

Councilwoman Cathy Benton serves as Ward 2’s representative, after defeating former Councilwoman Sonja Eason last year. This is Benton’s first term on the Council.

Johnson represents Ward 1, and takes the seat of retired Councilman Larry Griggers. Johnson has previously served on the Council, but recently spent many years out of political office.

Mayor NeSmith commented after the swearing in ceremony, “I do want to thank Cathy Benton, Tracy Johnson, and John Moore, Jr., for taking the time to run for office and to be here to help run the City. It takes a lot of time from you, but I do want to go ahead and thank you all in advance for what you’ll be doing.”

The next Council meeting is set for February 1 at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at Lyons City Hall.

HONORING HEROES — Survivors of a duplex fire in Lyons treated the firefighters that rescued them to a pizza party at the fire station. Firefighters and their families ate and fellowshipped with each other and the survivors prior to the regular Lyons City Council meeting.Photo by Makaylee Randolph

LDA REESTABLISHED — The Lyons Development Authority was recently re-established after five decades of dormancy. At the January meeting of the Lyons City Council, five citizens were sworn into the Authority. The new LDA members stand here posed with the City Council. L to R: LDA Members Parthiv Thakore, Marcia Moore, Rebecca Rollins, Mitchell Shook, and George Powell, Councilman Tracy Johnson, Councilman Ivy Toole, Councilman John Moore Jr., Councilwoman Cathy Benton, Mayor Willis Ne-Smith.Photo by Makaylee Randolph

Photo by Makaylee Randolph

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