LUCASVILLE — On a regular Sunday morning, a Lucasville family would have been out the door and on its way to church. March 21 was not one of those typical Sundays for Isaiah Turner and his family.
The Sunday that did unfold was far from Lionel Richie’s “Easy” depiction, one where instead the 16-year-old Turner sprung into action as a fire broke out at his grandma’s home.
On Wednesday, the Clay High School student spoke with the Portsmouth Daily Times from his home. His hands were bandaged due to the burns and he had a rough cough from entering the smoke-invested room. Through his action, however, he also came away from the experience with his grandmother and dog.
“I was playing rocket league, just listening to music, and waiting for the call to go to church,” Turner said, a pretty regular way to start his day. As it turned out his mom, Samantha Cantrell, was on the phone and they would be going to a later service.
This phone call, along with a brief pause between the video game and the tunes, allowed him to hear the calls for help. He has heard these calls before from his grandma if she were to fall, so he thought that was the reason for the commotion.
Instead, Turner encountered a scene where a fire had engulfed her bedroom.
“I ran in there and grabbed her and pulled her out of there,” he said. What complicated the situation was his grandmother’s catheter was still stuck to the bed and her prosthetic leg caught on fire. Turner had to use scissors to release the catheter from the bed and physically remove the prosthetic.
Samantha Cantrell said her son participates in a local boxing program, his second and third degree burn injuries meaning he will have to go without the extracurricular activity for some time. Turner had to go to Children’s Hospital in Columbus for three days, spending 24 hours on a ventilator.
While missing out on boxing, she said Turner has taken the incident with a bit of perspective.
“He said today that it was a small sacrifice,” Samantha said, calling her son a superhero for his efforts. “My grandma is OK and so is my dog.”
“I don’t care about the house,” Brandon Cantrell, his stepfather added. “I was just telling him out back, there were two other living beings in there and you got them both out of there with minimal injuries. You cannot ask for anything better.”
Brandon Cantrell was asleep when he started hearing some commotion. When he crossed the street, he saw grandma and the dog sitting on the porch after Turner came in and saved them. Still, grandma’s wheelchair and walker had to be found.
The scene he saw, grandma’s bed burnt to a crisp, made it difficult to find anything, but he was impressed with his son’s work in preventing the fire’s spread.
“It was textbook stuff,” he said, Turner, closing all the doors. “I’m not one to freely give credit, but I tell you any other scenario it’s a bad outcome. He done it to a tee.”
What got Turner through the commotion was a sense of calm, a skill he said he learned through his grandpa.
“I think about it now, but it’s really just instinct,” he said. “I wasn’t even thinking that it might hurt, I was just thinking nana is on fire and I need to help her.”
In the time since, those moments- both good and bad- have been replaying in his head. The primary thought is with his grandma, who Turner said in many ways helped raise him, who is recovering from the incident at a hospice health care center before going to a nursing home for physical therapy.
“I kind of get happy about it, since at least I was able to get her and I was there for her,” he said, thanking the first responders and God for keeping everyone safe.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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