Knox County firefighters honored for lifesaving heroics

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Two Knox County Rural Metro firefighters were honored by Mayor Glenn Jacobs Monday for rescuing a woman from a burning home.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs proclaimed Monday, November 16 as Matthew Kinney and Alex Kennedy Day. The two firefighters were also awarded the Civica Crown, the highest honor given in the fire service.

Captain Alex Kennedy and Master Firefighter Matthew Kinney helped save the life of a woman trapped in a West Knoxville house fire in May. Debra Vekasi and her mother left the house when the fire broke out but Vekasi’s mother ran back inside to save her dog and did not return.

Kennedy and Kinney ran inside and rescued the mother. She was quickly taken to the hospital where she recovered from her injuries from the fire and was released several days later.

“We have never asked more of first responders than we do now,” said Mayor Jacobs. “Night after night, they put everything on the line to help ensure their neighbors don’t have to. These are everyday heroes and they deserve all the gratitude and recognition we can offer.”

“Ultimately a decision that we both made to go right out the front door because we knew where it was. We knew how far it was and we knew the path was good and so we just ran for it. The cliché is any one of these guys would have done the same thing. We’re no different than them to be honest with you. We just did what we’re paid to do.”

Rural Metro Fire Captain Alex Kennedy

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