GOSHEN — Jacynda Guevara and Destiny Hall were working when they received one of several phone calls telling them their homes were on fire the morning of Jan. 4.
Guevara was in the process of purchasing the house in the 300 block of Seventh Street and Hall was renting the second floor from Guevara. Both work at Gleason, less than five minutes from their home.
"There I'm thinking it's a little itty-bitty fire and I get there and it's my whole entire roof," Guevara said. "It was shocking."
Their main concern, however, was that their children, ages 3 through 11, had stayed alone in the house while they went to work.
"We were a block and a half away, so when we got the phone call we just ran out the door," Hall said. "Didn't even clock out. We were flipping."
Shortly after they found their children in police cars and ambulances. Five officers from the Goshen Police Department had already entered the house and carried the children out.
On Friday, March 14, the Goshen Boys and Girls Clubs thanked the five officers who ran into the house to rescue the children.
Adrianne Penner, education and community outreach director, said it was a collective idea within the organization to hold a ceremony after CEO Kevin Deary thought about thanking the officers.
Penner said the organization thought the ceremony would not only be good for the children and their families, but for other members of the organization as well.
"We have 360 kids here everyday and not all of those kids have opportunities to see policemen in a positive light," she said. "And so it was a really good opportunity to show off the good in the Goshen Police Department."
The officers, patrolmen Bryan Knowles, Darrell Robinson, Jeremy Welker, Matt Yoder and Dave Miller, were given a thank-you card made by the children and a plaque during the ceremony, which was held at the Boys and Girls Club, 306 Crescent St.
Welker said he was the third or fourth officer to respond to the fire. He went up to the second floor of the house, where he found Randy, 10. Welker was able to get the door open, and as soon as he did, large amounts of smoke came out.
"The fire was really loud. I couldn't hear anything," he said. "I scooped him up and ran him to my car. Then I drove him to the ambulance about half a block away because he was telling me he was having trouble breathing."
The other four officers had already taken the other children out of the house. The children were in the lower level of the house, in the living room.
The officers took the children, wrapped them up in blankets and took them to their squad cars.
The house was destroyed. According to a fire investigation report from the Goshen Fire Department, the fire originated in the attic. Although the cause is marked as undetermined, Guevara said a heater in the upper level of the house was to blame for the fire.
Guevara and Hall found a different house that they rent now. They are still talking with their insurance company about coverage.
Both women said they were grateful their children were with them, and they were grateful to the police officers for saving them.
Though thankful for the ceremony and happy to see the family they saved again, the officers were humble when talking about the incident.
"I truly think that if it was anybody else, they would have done exactly the same thing," Miller said. "I have no doubt about it. We didn't do anything other than what anybody else would have done."