Alabama military vet’s brave instinct saves two women from burning home

Published 10:04 pm Sunday, September 11, 2022

For Marvin Pinckney, running into a burning house was “just instinct to do the right thing.” His quick action resulted in two women being evacuated safely from an Enterprise, Alabama, home engulfed in flames.

The retired Army command sergeant major is a neighbor of Mary Griffin, whose Bellwood Road home was consumed by flames on Sept. 3.

Pinckney was in his garage when he saw smoke and flames coming from Griffin’s garage. He ran to the home and discovered that Griffin and her helper were inside.

“They didn’t know there was a fire at that point,” Pinckney said, adding that his first effort was to get Griffin from her stationary chair to her wheelchair and her portable oxygen supply.

As the flames moved from the garage through the home, the electricity in the home went out and smoke filled the rooms, making an exit through the window of the only remaining smoke-free room the only option, Pinckney said. He lifted Griffin through the window into the arms of neighbors who had gathered outside to offer assistance.

“She was most concerned about not being able to take her portable oxygen with her,” Pinckney said. “But I assured her that the rescue squad would have some.”

The women were transported to a hospital by Enterprise Rescue Squad.

Family friend Charlene Goolsby has visited Griffin, and said she is recovering from non-life threatening injuries. She is appreciative of Pinckney and the neighbors who came to help. “She is just very grateful to be alive,” Goolsby said.

The retired command sergeant major declines to be called a hero.

“I’ve lived in this neighborhood for about year. These are my neighbors,” he said. “It was just instinct to do the right thing.”