On Monday, June 13, 2016, Station 81 (Laurel), Station 14 (Sharptown), and Station 74 (Delmar) were alerted for a working structure fire with possible subjects trapped on West 7th Street in Laurel.

Life Member and past-Assistant Chief Greg Adkins, whose home is across the street from the call location, responded on foot to the scene.

Once on scene, Adkins observed heavy fire in the rear of the structure and a neighbor alerted him that two small children were still inside. At this time, Mr. Adkins made a quick size-up of the structure and forced entry into the front of the home by kicking in the locked front door. Once inside, he completed an interior search of the residence.

After his initial search yielded no results, he exited the home. Again, the neighbor insisted that she knew two small children were still inside. Mr. Adkins reentered the home without any PPE and saw that fire was beginning to burn through interior walls, engulfing room and contents. Atkins began calling out “Fire department!” in a continued search for the children. At this time, two little girls, who were hiding in a bedroom closet, came running out and were assisted from the burning home by Adkins. As the trio safely exited the structure, the fire flashed, engulfing the home. This all happened within minutes, as Laurel’s engine 81-4 arrived.

Past-Chief Adkins’ determination and selflessness are the reason the two little girls are safe and alive today. Adkins singlehandedly prevented a tragedy through shear bravery and a willingness to help others during severe circumstances. His actions are a testament to the courage and passion that defines Life Member Adkins. He never considered his own safety; he served his community that day by putting others’ well-being before his own.

The definition of hero is “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.” Mr. Adkins surely exemplifies the definition of a hero and the Laurel Fire Department is honored to be able to call him a brother in service.

– Submitted by Patrick Miller, story by Rebecca West, NREMT, Laurel FD