High school quarterback helps elderly couple during house fire

A student athlete is being praised for his performance off the field.
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 10:50 PM EST
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RUSSELL, Ky. (WSAZ) - Heading into Thanksgiving, Don Ratliff is grateful he and his wife escaped unharmed after a fire destroyed the home they’d lived in 43 years.

“It’s very heartbreaking,” Ratliff said.

A little after 11 a.m. Friday, his wife’s caregiver alerted him a fire had broken out on their screened in porch at their house on Barkley Court in Russell.

Ratliff tried to put the fire out himself -- to no avail.

“I grabbed a fire extinguisher, and I went out there and started battling the flames, which were about waist high, and I was making no progress,” he said.

He says the flames spread quickly, reaching the ceiling.

Ratliff, his wife Jenny, and the caregiver made it out of the house safely.

Raceland High School quarterback Logan Lundy lives in the neighborhood. He was on his way back to school when he saw the home was burning.

“It was pretty scary,” Lundy said.

Lundy helped Mrs. Ratliff, who’s been battling an illness, get seated safely in a van out of the cold. He also backed a car out of the garage before the flames could spread to it.

“I just did what anybody would do and helped them out,” Lundy said. “If somebody needs help, anybody is going to go try to lend a hand.”

Ratliff says he’s grateful the young student athlete was so quick to help in a tough, dangerous spot.

“He didn’t even hesitate,” Ratliff said. “When he saw the caregiver was struggling to get (Jenny) out onto the sidewalk, he just came running. It’s heartwarming to see that nowadays.”

Later Friday night, Lundy led the 12-1 Rams to a 3-point win over Hazard to advance to the Kentucky semifinals.

Raceland Coach Mike Salmons says Lundy’s display of character earlier in the day came as no surprise.

“We talk about serving others all the time,” Salmons said. “I think that was an act of stewardship there for him. I like to think we’ve got 60 other guys who would’ve done the same thing.”

People in the neighborhood where the fire happened are pitching in to replace items the couple lost in the fire.

The Ratliffs are staying with a family member for now.

There’s no word yet on what caused the fire.