MERIDIAN -- Two Meridian men were honored Tuesday night for helping two victims of a house fire escape the burning home earlier this month.

Good Samaritans Rick Mills and Dan Land were honored with Hometown Hero awards at the Meridian City Council meetingTuesday.

Mills accepted the award. Land was not able to attend.

Mills told KTVB he was on his way to a doctor appointment when he saw black smoke coming from the back of a house on Tenth Street in Meridian. He went up to the door and knocked, but got no response.

Mills entered the home to see if anyone needed help, and says he heard someone yelling. When he went to the bedroom, he saw a mother and daughter lying on the floor in the doorway of the room on fire. Mills helped get the daughter out of the home, while Land helped the mother.

Mills told KTVB he does not view his actions as special.

I don't think there would have been anyone who would not have done the same thing under similar circumstances, said Mills. So it was an ordinary response to an extraordinary event.

Once everyone was safe, Mills called 911.


Judy Colwell, who lived in the house with her husband and adult daughter, said she was going to get her daughter for an appointment, when she saw smoke coming out from under the bedroom door. She broke down the door to get her daughter out and unsuccessfully tried to douse the fire with water. The next thing she knew, the two men were helping her and her daughter out of the fully-engulfed bedroom.

Colwell said she cried when she realized what the men had done for her family.

I'm just very grateful that he was able to get Tara and I out of there and that we were both alive, said Colwell.

She said the fire was started by either a laptop battery or a candle, but the fire department isn't sure which.

While the house suffered major smoke damage, firefighers were able to save the family's pets.

Read about that here.

Mills was a firefighter for 12 years and said it helped give him the confidence to run inside the house.

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