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Firefighters spend a lifetime learning how to respond and react in a host of life-threatening situations. For them, running toward flames is second nature. To most civilians this same scenario is unfamiliar, chaotic and terrifying. One citizen, however, set all fear aside and summoned the courage to do something remarkable, without concern for her own well-being. For that reason, Wanda Thomas was recognized as a local hero.

During Monday’s City Council meeting, Thomasville Fire Rescue and the City Council presented Mrs. Thomas with the Thomasville Fire Rescue Good Citizen Award for her actions during a fire which occurred at a neighbor’s home in late April.

Fire Marshal Tim Connell, who presented the award, said that Thomas’ early morning actions on April 30th, 2015 were directly responsible for saving numerous lives.

“Prior to our arrival on the scene, Thomas had already tried to alert the residents and get them to safety outside,” Connell said.

“Additionally, once we arrived on scene, the information she provided to our firefighters allowed them to quickly search and locate all of the remaining individuals within the home.”

“It is my opinion that without her we wouldn’t have everyone from that home with us today,” he added.

Fire Marshal Connell also noted that with no training, Thomas kept a level head and displayed great judgment.

“Mrs. Thomas does not have the extensive training that firefighters take with them into dangerous situations, but she still made all the right decisions and by doing so, saved lives,” he said.

Thomasville Fire Rescue developed the Good Citizen Award as a way to honor those citizens who perform an act of human kindness which results in the protection of human life and the prevention of bodily injury to another person(s) during a fire or other emergency rescue situation.

“This was the first time we’ve given this award, and I can’t think of a more fitting recipient than Mrs. Thomas. She acted quickly and decisively, and truly made a difference,” said Fire Chief Chris Bowman. “It’s very important that we recognize our citizens who take action to improve fire and life safety within our community.

“Citizens are one of the most critical components to our community’s fire and life safety network,” Bowman added.