Ellicott City youth saves paraplegic father in fire HOWARD COUNTY

March 19, 1993|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

A 16-year-old Ellicott City youth crawled through dense smoke yesterday morning to rescue his paraplegic father from their burning home.

Russell Shaver Jr., a 10th-grade student at Mount Hebron High School, said most of his eight-member family was still in bed when the fire started. All escaped unharmed from the four-bedroom home, in the 8400 block of Old Frederick Road. The blaze caused $125,000 damage.

"I was getting ready to wake up," Russell said, "when my niece came running into my room. She was yelling, 'Fire.' "

The youth said he bolted to the hallway.

"My mother said, 'Get your dad! Get your dad!'," Russell recalled.

Frances Shaver, 52, who was on the telephone calling 911, knew her husband was in trouble. Russell Shaver Sr., 36, was left paralyzed from the waist down after an auto accident last year in Baltimore County, his family said.

His son raced to his parents' second-floor bedroom, where his father was waking to the commotion.

"I helped him get out of his bed and onto the floor," Russell said. "When I got him on the floor, I started pulling him and the smoke was [everywhere]. I was on my hands and knees."

Halfway down the stairs, Russell Jr. yelled toward the room of his 23-year-old sister, Trish Murray.

At first, Ms. Murray said the fact their house was on fire didn't register. "I thought he meant down the street. Somewhere else," she said.

She grabbed her two children, ages 2 and 5, and ran out of the front door. A niece and nephew, ages 4 and 7, also managed to get out.

Russell, meanwhile, was struggling to save his father. "I pulled him and dragged him down the steps to the porch," he said.

Within minutes, firefighters had arrived. They extinguished the fire in about an hour. The fire began about 7:30 a.m. in a bedroom, where children were playing with a cigarette lighter, said fire investigators. It was ruled accidental.

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