LDS missionaries from Utah help neighbors escape burning home in Oregon

Posted at 10:13 PM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 00:13:05-04

ALBANY, Oregon - Two sister missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are being called heroes after they helped their neighbors out of a burning home in Albany, Oregon.

The two sisters are both from Utah, serving in the Salem Oregon mission. Sister Jana Shumway, of Lehi, and Sister Heather Munford, of North Ogden, were just getting ready for their preparation day on Monday when they heard cries for help from next door.

“It was kind of an amazing thing that they were home and where they were,” said Jule Cook, Sister Shumway’s grandmother. “It was like being in the right place at the right time.”

Cook heard about the encounter first from an LDS Church member who lives in Albany, but later got all the details in her granddaughter’s weekly email home.

“They ran out to see what was happening, and apparently there was smoke coming out of the duplex next door,” Cook said. “She said that these ladies were trying to get out.”

According to the Albany Democrat-Herald, two older women and their dog were inside the burning home. Sister Shumway and Sister Munford helped the two women out of the home and comforted them until firefighters and paramedics arrived.

“She just had expressed how grateful they were, and how grateful she was to be there and reassure them,” Cook said. “I think that was the thing, to be able to reassure them they were going to be okay.”

One of those women was taken to the hospital, both were using oxygen.

“They were both trying to get out of the house,” Munford told the Democrat-Herald. “All I knew is we had to get them out of there and get them away.”

Cook says her granddaughter applied to a nursing program before she left home to serve an LDS mission. She also has experience working as a CNA. Cook said she believes that helped Sister Shumway stay calm through it all.

"She just has a real gift for helping people, and recognizing needs,” Cook said. “So [we’re] pretty proud of her.”

Albany Fire Department and Albany Police Department both had multiple units respond to the blaze. The cause of the fire remained under investigation Monday morning.