Hermon man credited with saving several lives after fire destroyed Edwards Senior Court in March
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 9:15 am

Larry Wisner stands in the burnt shell of building number two at the Edwards Senior Court. The building went up in flames on the morning of March 22 and thanks to Wisner’s quick action, there were no injuries, United Helpers says.

EDWARDS -- A caretaker with United Helpers is credited with saving several residents following a fire at one of their facilities early this year, the organization says.

On the morning of March 22, Larry Wisner responded to a routine call at the Edwards Senior Court where residents in one of the buildings reported a power outage.

The power outage, however, quickly escalated into a more severe situation when the building burst into flames.

Wisner, 70, caretaker at the McBryer Park Manor in Hermon, was covering for another employee who was on vacation when he got the call.

“There wasn’t any smoke when I got here,” Wisner said. “I went into apartment two and there was no power.”

He checked the main breaker on the outside of the building and discovered that power had been shut off to the entire building.

“I didn’t dare touch it,” he said.

At that point Wisner decided to inspect the building from the inside.

“You could smell smoke, but you couldn’t see it,” he said.

That changed when he opened a bathroom door and the fire exploded.

“It went quick,” he said.

Wisner scrambled to get the residents out of the building before the entire place went up in flames. One of the residents wouldn’t leave without his dog, so Mr. Wisner grabbed the dog and got him out of harms way.

“He did a great job,” Assistant Housing Manager Carol A. Basford said. “He responded exactly as he should have.”

Even when they got outside the building Wisner said the smoke was so thick “you couldn’t see a thing.”

“I’m not a hero,” Wisner said. “I was just doing what I was supposed to do.”

The building was a total loss, but there were no injuries thanks to Mr. Wisner’s quick action.

Basford said plans are underway to rebuild so people can move back in the fall.

Residents were relocated to various locations, including other United Helpers facilities and in some cases back home in the interim.

Edwards Senior Court, 16 Trout Lake Street, is a 24-unit complex separated into six buildings with four apartments each that houses senior citizens and disabled people. United Helpers has managed the facility since 2011.