Montgomery County deputies credited with saving boys from burning house

Boys saved from fire
Posted at 8:18 AM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 09:18:17-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — There are two things that are certain for Chasity Hayes. She loves life at her Clarksville home with her two boys, and Monday was the scariest day of her life.

"I start smelling smoke, and I look up at the ceiling fan, smoke was just rolling out of it," Hayes said.

Frightened by a fire in their home, her two boys locked themselves in their room.

"I couldn't get the door unlocked, and I couldn't breathe at that point," Hayes said. "I grab a ladder. I told them, 'mommy's coming! Mommy's coming! I took a two-by-four and busted the windows out. I never felt so helpless."

It was at that moment up the road came two cars carrying Deputies Zach Fortner and Cody Evans of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department.

"You don't stop and think. That's taking seconds from these kids they don't have," said Evans.

Fortner jumped through the boys' window.

"The heat and the smoke, I can only see what's in front of me," said Fortner. "It was scary."

"Every breath burned," said Evans.

"I could hear one kid crying for help," Fortner continued. "It was 'if he don't come out, I don't come out.' I crawled the best I could to the sound and brought him back."

"I got him up and over, down the ladder," said Evans.

Grant, 6, was safe, but 8-year-old Jon Luke was still inside.

"He has autism," said Hayes. "He was scared. He was afraid. I didn't know if he'd go to them. I thought, 'this is it, you know. Then, [Fortner and Evans] brought him out, and I seen his face. I could breathe. I could breathe."

"It was an emotional relief, that's all I can say," said Fortner.

"I know there is a God," said Hayes.

Today, Hayes and her boys are doing fine, while crews look into what started the fire at their Briarwood Road home. There's a message Hayes wants to send to those two deputies who came down that road and saved her sons.

"Thank you. Thank you so much," she said. "Thank you for not giving up. They are my whole life, they're my everything. I live for them, so you saved me. You saved me that day too."