CROSS COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - They may have lost their home, but a family can thank a couple of Cross County sheriff’s deputies for saving their lives.
According to Sheriff David West, Robert Boyette and Matthew Maya were in Vanndale when they smelled burning wood.
The two deputies tracked down the source and found a home where a couple lived was on fire. They knocked on the doors and windows until the man came to the door.
The man, according to the sheriff, went back in to get the woman and two dogs. One of the dogs ran back into the home, and the woman followed.
Deputies Maya and Boyette then ran into the burning building, West said, and brought out the woman and the dog.
When a crew from the Wynne Fire Department arrived, they found heavy flames coming through the roof.
Crews from Vanndale and Cherry Valley arrived with tankers to assist Wynne firefighters. Together, they battled the wind-whipped flames for four hours.
Despite their best efforts, the home was a total loss.
“Our condolences go to the residents,” the WFD stated. “Losing property to a fire is always devastating, but around the holidays, it just hurts worse.”
Sheriff West commended the deputies for “going above and beyond their duties. We are proud that they are a part of our department and our family of blue.”
Jill Greenwood, the homeowner, said that she and her husband are heavy sleepers. The knocking made their dogs start to bark, which woke them up.
“Those deputies saved our lives by seeing the smoke and coming to knock on the door,” said Jill Greenwood.
Jill Greenwood said that Boyette even put his life on the line to try to save their pet.
“They were yelling at us, ‘get out of the house!’ and all I remember is the other deputy yelling at him, ‘Justin! Justin! Get out of there. The ceiling is going to fall through!’ and they got us over to the neighbor’s yard away from the smoke into safety,” said Jill Greenwood.
Father and father-in-law to the couple, Herman Greenwood, says that if he could, he would “hug the deputies around the neck” for saving his kid’s lives.
“I owe him a debt that I can’t pay, and it breaks my heart that I can’t pay it back. I would like to meet him, shake his hand, and just tell him how much I love him and thank you,” said Herman Greenwood.
Jill says that the house was very sentimental. It belonged to her in-laws then got passed down to her and her husband.
“I met my in-laws there. I grew to know and love them there; I grew to love my husband there; we got married in that house. There are things that money can’t bring back,” said Jill Greenwood.
Jill says it’s hard because they lost everything just two days before Christmas. During the season of giving, they are in a position where they can only receive.
“It’s really hard. We had these gifts and planned out gifts, and we can’t do anything for anybody this Christmas,” said Jill Greenwood.
If you would like to help the Greenwood family, they have a fundraising page set up. You can donate by clicking here.