Learning from a tragedy... - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Learning from a tragedy...

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Out of a tragedy, fire officials hope other lives may be saved. Wednesday morning's fire took two lives that might have been saved had a better escape plan been in place. Billy Joe Page could not move, and no one else could get him out of his burning home in time either. A friend told us Page's wife lost her life trying to save him because she wouldn't leave her husband.

If you or a loved one suffers from a disability or are immobile, this story is devoted to showing you how to be better prepare at home, in case of an emergency. 

The Pages had working smoke detectors, a wheelchair ramp in the back, but not the front, and that was the problem. Fire crews also say their bedroom was located too far from a doorway.

"People should be mindful if they have needs to be located in an area close to an exit and this man was far from either exit," said Marilynn Wilson, Smith County Assistant Fire Marshal.

They also advise anyone with disabilities to notify a fire department.

"That way the fire department person will know kind of the layout of the house so they can make a quick recovery," said Wilson. "A lot of times people put furniture in front of the windows we ask people not to do that. This particular case there were windows on the end of house where the man was but the house is 8 feet off the ground, no way of escaping.

"It's so sad it's just so sad and it's just such a waste. If they'd just have had some help, maybe home health care," said Nancy Schultz with Edge Medical Supply.

And supply shops like Edge Medical sell equipment that can help.

"This is basically our patient lift. It will slide underneath the bed and they can pull themselves up off of this right here," Bobby Burnett with Edge Medical Supply motioned to the equipment.

The lift she showed us has a 650 pound weight limit. There are also Hoyer lifts that help transfer patients. Though their expensive price tag may seem out of reach, Edge Medical says there are options available.

"We bill through insurances, medicaid [and] medicare," said Schultz. "We have several insurances we're in network with but we also try to put our patients number one and if they are financially strapped we do work with patients."

They urge people in need to call medical equipment stores or a doctor to see what options are available. They are hoping to make lives a little easier and safer in case of a serious emergency.

To learn more about mobility products, we've set up a link under the Big Red Box.

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