Beverly Guynn, 76, lost everything in a fire last month, but she survived thanks to the heroic actions of a New York State trooper.
MACHIAS, N.Y. — By the time Beverly Guynn, 76, realized there was a fire inside her home along State Route 16 in Machias last month, it was too late for her to escape.
“The smoke was so thick,” she told 2 On Your Side via cell phone video chat from a hospital nursing home facility, where she has been receiving rehab treatment.
She believes the fire may have started under her dryer. While Guynn was able to call 911, she couldn’t get out of the house in her wheelchair.
“The house is filled with smoke,” said Trooper James O’Callaghan, spokesperson for the New York State Police. “You obviously know it’s on fire… but you can’t see to get out.”
While Guynn waited for help, it just so happened Trooper Joseph Butler, Jr. was on his normal patrol not too far from her home.
He got there just as her home was filling with smoke. He couldn’t see anything and got to Guynn by calling out and listening for her responses.
“I couldn’t see him,” she recalled. “I had to tell him where I was.”
Trooper Butler was able to get her out of the house before it became engulfed in flames. Had he waited on fire crews, Guynn likely wouldn’t have survived.
“I wouldn’t have (survived),” she said. “Because I couldn’t get out by myself.”
Guynn’s son, Justin, helped her salvage a few personal belongings that somehow survived the flames, smoke and water damage. He’s just thankful his mom made it.
“He did something truly selfless, and I have to thank him for it,” Justin said of Trooper Butler. “Just the response itself was truly amazing. I’m forever grateful for him.”
Through the State Police, Trooper Butler politely declined to be interviewed for this story. In fact, he didn’t even want his co-workers sharing his name and picture on Facebook and Twitter, because he didn’t want the praise.
“He said anyone would have done that,” said Trooper O’Callaghan.
Guynn knows he went above and beyond.
When asked if Trooper Butler is a hero, she responded, “Oh yea. I’m here. I mean, I wouldn’t be without him.”