A Lawrence Park business owner is being hailed a hero after assisting firefighters battling a fire just before Christmas.
First responders were faced with sub-zero temperatures and one man opened the doors to his business late into the hours of the night, offering a safe haven for fire fighters to warm up.
James Sharples is the owner of James and Demay’s Auto Repair and when disaster struck just outside of his business on East Lake Road, he stepped up to help.
The Fire Chief of Lawrence Park Fire Department, Joe Crotty said that it takes a special type of person to help first responders when they need it most.
James Sharples, owner of James and Demay’s Auto Repair, was recognized by Erie County Council on Tuesday night for his efforts in assisting firefighters in Lawrence Park on December 23rd.
When Sharples saw the commotion outside of his business, he took action.
“I logged into my camera’s and saw all of the EMS and firefighters and drove into town to assist,” said James Sharples.
While Sharples didn’t work to put out the fire, he helped by providing shelter and heat in his garage for first responders as they dealt with freezing temperatures.
County Council Chairman Brian Shank was at the scene that night, and explains the difficult conditions.
“The flames were just getting whipped around. We were cold. It was a cold, cold blowy night. And add water, what happens is it freezes. The trucks started to freeze, we started to freeze,” said Brian Shank, Erie County Council Chairman.
Firefighters freezing was no exaggeration, these images shown are what first responders looked like that night.
“Completely ice covered. Some of them I had to assist in getting their gear off,” Sharples explained.
Not only were firefighters battling the blaze, but they were also battling subzero temperatures that could have caused them physical harm.
Shank said that Sharples’ quick thinking that night may have saved some of these fire fighters from the cold.
“He brought out torpedo’s, heaters, one of the local chiefs had potentially frostbite and because he did that careless act, not for himself, for others and the community, he probably saved someone’s ear that night,” Shank said.
Sharples said that he didn’t expect any recognition for what he did, but simply that it was the right thing to do.