Ex St. Mary's Deputy Hailed for Saving Four Lives

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Ex St. Mary's Deputy Hailed for Saving Four Lives

Altavista, VA - 2/8/2013

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By Dick Myers

Altavista, VA Police Officer Scott Earhart. Photo courtesy of WSET-TV, Lynchburg, VA
Altavista, VA Police Officer Scott Earhart. Photo courtesy of WSET-TV, Lynchburg, VA

A former St. Mary’s County deputy is being credited with saving the lives of four people in a small town in southwest Virginia. Scott Earhart was a K-9 officer with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department from 1991 to 1999. He is now a Patrol K-9 officer with the Altavista, Virginia Police Department.

On Sunday, February 2 before dawn Earhart, 43, was dispatched to an apartment building with reports of smoke coming from it. When he arrived the smoke alarm was blaring and the door was locked. He was told there were people inside.

When he broke into the apartment he found four people who were not awake. Smoke filled the apartment. He told the Bay Net he is not sure whether they were being affected by smoke inhalation or were just asleep. He had to wake them up and help them out. He said the smoke was so thick it started to affect him. The smoke came from something burning on the stove. There was no fire associated with the smoke.

Luckily no one was injured and no one had to be hospitalized. The incident became big news in the area, appearing on TV and in the local newspaper, the Altavista Journal.

One of the persons saved, Heather King, was quoted in a story by the Journal’s editor Mark Thomas: “If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be here today.” King, a friend and two of her brothers were in the apartment at the time.

Earhart is being called a hero in the local media, but he doesn’t agree. “I was just doing my job. I did what I was supposed to do,” he told the Bay Net, adding that any other officer in the 13 person department would have done the same thing. “The people who went to Iraq are the real heroes,” he added.

Earhart lived in Hollywood and his mother still lives there. He moved to the area that his mother-in-law lived in to be in what he called a quieter place. At least for one day last Sunday things weren’t so quiet after all.

Earhart will be honored for his actions at next Tuesday’s Altavista Town Council meeting. The town had a population of 3,450 in the 2010 census.

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