Carrier delivers customer to safety
HUNTINGTON -- One local couple who is accustomed to delivering the news never expected to become part of it during their workday last month.
Marietta Ross has delivered The Herald-Dispatch on both sides of the Cabell-Lincoln county line for about two years, and her husband, Cline Ross, assists her once or twice a week in completing the rural route that starts in Salt Rock and takes them into West Hamlin each day.
They both are familiar with the route and most of the customers living along it, including West Hamlin resident Drema Farley.
Her residence stands out to the Rosses since her newspaper receiving box is located behind her home to better accommodate Farley, who is disabled.
Everything seemed to be functioning normally on Jan. 23, when Cline and Marietta Ross split the route, meaning Cline Ross delivered to Farley's home near Long Branch.
However, not everything was as normal as it seemed.
"I saw smoke coming out from the back porch," Cline Ross said. "I thought it didn't seem right, and when I got back there, I saw the fire."
Farley, who lives alone in the home, was fast asleep as 68-year-old Cline Ross jumped her porch gate and began banging on her door, and he even tried kicking it in before she finally woke up and was able to get out of her house.
"When I kicked the door, the porch came out from under me," Cline Ross said.
He was able to kick away some items on the porch that were burning, but the water pipes and some electric wires beneath Farley's home already had been melted. Cline Ross said Farley called 911 while he got what little water he was available and smothered the fire.
By the time he was able to get in touch with Marietta Ross, firefighters were on their way, and Farley was out of harm's way.
Cline Ross got right back to work.
"He called me and said, 'You're finished, and you need to stop here and stay with her,'" Marietta Ross said. "The fire was out. I stayed with her, and the fire department came. He came back once he had finished delivering."
Farley's home was damaged but not destroyed by the fire.
"It's usually his wife who delivers the paper," Farley said in an interview with The Lincoln Journal earlier this month. "All I can say is God sent him. He saved my life."
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