Brothers: ‘Anybody’ would have helped woman from burning house

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 1, 2001

Brothers Ja’Mel and Jonathan Jackson say they were just doing what they had to do last month when they rescued a bedridden woman from her burning house.

&uot;I was just doing something I was told,&uot; Ja’Mel said.

In a similar situation, &uot;anybody else would do the same thing,&uot; Jonathan said.

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The brothers, who attend Cathedral School, were visiting their grandmother’s house on Old Smiths Lane when she told them her neighbor’s house was on fire. She wanted them to make sure two women, Katie Hawkins and Mary Gibson, got out, Ja’Mel said.

At the direction of Hawkins, Ja’Mel said he broke through two locked screen doors and a front door to enter Gibson’s side of the residence.

&uot;When I went in the house I saw (Gibson) sitting there and smoke going to her side of the room,&uot; Ja’Mel said.

With flames spreading into the house, Ja’Mel said he first tried to bring Gibson a walker, but &uot;she was telling us she couldn’t walk,&uot; he said.

He later tried to push her bed out the bedroom door but it would not fit. By that point the smoke in the house was making it difficult to breath.

Ja’Mel said he had to take several trips outside for fresh air. &uot;Every time I (dragged) the bed and I needed a breather, I’d stop and get some air and (drag the bed) again,&uot; Ja’Mel said.

He later tried to lift her onto a chair but she started yelling that this made her shoulder hurt.

Jonathan soon arrived to help him.

&uot;When Jonathan came I was glad because I didn’t want to hurt her or anything,&uot; Ja’Mel said.

Still braving the smoke, the brothers lifted Gibson onto the chair and carried her to their grandmother’s house.

&uot;When I got in (the house) I felt dizzy (from the smoke),&uot; Jonathan said. &uot;My brother kept on pushing me saying we need to get this lady out.&uot;

Both brothers said they were not thinking about their own safety while inside the house.

&uot;I was just reacting,&uot; Jonathan said.

Ja’Mel said his only thought was getting Gibson out.

&uot;I didn’t really look for the fire,&uot; he said.

The brothers, who play basketball and football for Cathedral, say they have been told this event is &uot;more important&uot; than any glory they will ever receive in athletics.

And they agree. &uot;There’s only one life&uot; given to a person, Ja’Mel said.

The brothers are the sons of Johnny Ray and Maybelle Jackson.