Alice Rhodes was coming out of the grocery store when she saw several fire engines racing down York Road.
“But that’s not unusual,” Rhodes said she thought to herself on that particularly drizzly September evening.
That is, until she tried to drive home.
Rhodes found her street blocked off by the same fire engines she saw minutes earlier, now with firefighters rushing to quell a blaze next door to her home on Aylesbury Road.
“There was smoke every where. It was completely black,” Rhodes said.
Inside the home, minutes earlier, Karla Blackwell was hurt.
“She was on the floor when they found her,” Rhodes said.
She survived the fire, with serious, but non-life threatening injuries, thanks to the courage and quick thinking of a few good neighborhoods.
“Karla has told me that it has all been a blur,” Rhodes said, chronicling the events that unfolded that fateful evening.
Across the street, Amy Feltman told her husband David Feltman she thought that it was odd for someone to be grilling in the rain. It took seconds for David to run out the door with a flashlight in hand.
David and Alice’s husband Frank Rhodes yelled into the house, calling out Blackwell’s name. Neighbors began pouring out of their homes, like the smoke pouring out of Blackwell’s.
Alice said her husband and David found Blackwell, a woman in her 70s, in the kitchen. She conscious enough to yell back at her rescuers. The two men pulled her out of the burning home, while Amy and other neighbors helped her in the front yard.
The firefighters arrived, Blackwell was alive and the blaze consuming her home was extinguished quickly.
But Alice saw more to the story, than the thankfully happy ending. She saw a community come together.
Blackwell was taken to a local hospital with burns on her hands and some smoke inhalation, while 10 neighbors began boarding up the windows on her charred home to prevent rain water damage. Another neighborhood watched Amy and David’s children while they helped. Another took care of Blackwell’s dog in her absence.
One man even tried to keep the fire at bay with his garden hose, until firefighters came. And finally, another neighborhood called Blackwell's family.
Tuesday evening (March 5), David and Frank will receive commendation awards for potentially saving Blackwell’s life. The awards pale in comparison to strong sense of community Alice now feels living on Aylesbury Road.
“It’s not just one person that did something it was a whole neighborhood that did something. And in this day and age that’s nice to see that,” Alice said.
Check back with Patch as we update this story following Tuesday evening’s ceremony. Also, be on the lookout for another story featuring two Lutherville women who saved a man who had been electrocuted.