On July 31, 2015, while completing a lawn care inspection, one of our veteran lawn care inspectors found himself in an unexpected situation.
Keith, who has been with Rottler for over 22 years, was at the home of one of our long-time customers when he noticed smoke coming from the kitchen. He brought it to the attention of the customer and they entered the kitchen to discover large amounts of smoke and flames up to 4 feet tall coming from the microwave/stove area. Keith advised the customer to turn off the electricity immediately (a tip Keith says he learned from watching Forensic Files on TV) and the customer called the fire department. As smoke began to engulf the kitchen, the customer prepared to douse the fire with water from the sink. Keith advised against this, asking if they had any flour available in case the fire was electrical or grease-related. They pulled out the flour they had in the cupboard and tried to smother the fire to no avail. At this point, the smoke was practically filling the room and Keith advised the customers, an older couple and their young granddaughter, to head outside to wait for the fire department. As the man ushered his granddaughter outside, the granddaughter expressed to Keith the smoke was becoming overpowering for her grandmother so Keith helped her out of the house and to safety. Once outside, Keith remembered that he had seen a few bags of topsoil near where he parked his car when he arrived. Acting quickly, Keith ran and grabbed the top soil and threw it on top of the fire, smothering it. At this point, Keith said, he finally started to see white smoke, and from his days in the Boy Scouts, he knew that the fire would soon be out. He went outside to wait for the fire department.
Later that day, Rottler received a call from the Fire Marshall at West County Fire who stated that he wanted to call and recognize Keith because when his firefighters arrived on the scene, the situation was “30 seconds from becoming completely uncontrollable and consuming the house”, stating that Keith “saved some lives and saved the property” and that the Marshall “cannot put into enough words what the difference was in what he did affecting the outcome of this situation”. He concluded that “we always preach to people to not get involved in these situations but he did what was right and what he thought he had to do and he really went above and beyond” and that “the people will be in their house tonight because of what he did”.
Rottler is extremely proud of Keith and grateful to have had him as a part of our team for such a long time. He is a hero in our eyes and we are sure in the eyes of the customers who are able to sleep in their own beds tonight. Great job, Keith. Keep up the good work!