RAVENNA, Ohio (WJW) – Jonathan Noland and his girlfriend Mckenzie Shanafelt were in the basement of his parents’ home on May 13 when they heard crashing noises from above them.
Going to investigate, Jonathan was met with plumes of heavy smoke and fire.
“When Jonathan got to the top of the steps, the fire was there. He was able to get out through the garage door, but by the time Mckenzie got to the top of the steps, she couldn’t go any farther. She turned around went back downstairs and called 911,” said Jonathan’s mother Renee Noland.
On the 911 call, the dispatchers repeatedly try to coax Shanafelt out through the stairway, but she describes a scenario that becomes more and more life-threatening each passing moment.
“Can you get out of the basement?” asks the dispatcher. “I don’t know. There’s so much smoke. I’m scared,” said Shanafelt. Then telling dispatchers, “The smoke is now getting in the basement, so I just think it’s getting worse” and “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die.”
Ravenna fire as well as Police Sgt. Christopher Coy and officers Matthew Meyers, Cruz Montez and Dominic Nicolino were dispatched to the Harvest Drive address. Sgt. Coy was among the first to arrive. His body worn camera records a massive blaze erupting from the two-story home.
Realizing someone was still inside, Coy hurries to the back of the house where the fire was the most intense.
“There’s absolutely no way in, it’s that engulfed,” he is heard telling dispatchers and others at the scene.
Along with patrolman Nicolino, the two officers find one basement window on the side of the house, which they work to break out. Through the now heavy smoke in the basement you can hear their voices in the background of the 911 call as they summoned Shanafelt to the narrow window.
“You are going to be OK, Mckenzie, they are coming in OK?” said the dispatcher, instructing Shanafelt to “go to his voice.”
Out of the smoke and haze, her face appears in the officers’ flashlights as they reach in and pull her to safety. Firefighters arrived quickly and were prepared to rush into the burning home to save a life, and while they were doing just that they learned that everyone was already out of the burning home.
“The fire chief told us that we were literally minutes away from losing her, she was on the floor in the basement and the smoke was billowing down on top of her,” said Tom Noland, Jonathan’s father.
The fire destroyed much of the house. An insurance company inspector was at the scene on Wednesday.
Tom tells FOX 8 he believes it may have started in the kitchen and was electrical in nature. The family lost two dogs in the blaze and while they say that is devastating, they also say it only puts into perspective how much more tragic it would have been to have lost a human life in the blaze.
“Words don’t describe how you can thank somebody for saving a life,” said Tom. “For the past year I feel like the men in blue have absolutely been shunned and talked down to, and if it was not for those two police officers, I fully believe Mckenzie would not be with us here today. And that is something that would have affected so many more lives.”
The family is relying on their deep faith and the support of friends and neighbors to help them through their loss, understanding that had it not been for the quick action of the officers it could have been far worse.
“That’s all that matters is that they got out, anything else is just meaningless,” said Renee.