The nauseating smell of smoke. The feeling of dark, gritty soot. The sight of orange-red flames flashing about the room. Those who’ve endured a fire say those memories never leave you. And sometimes neither does the memory of the one who saved you from it.
Nearly 20 years ago, William Vantress, then 7, received third-degree burns all over his body after his younger brother accidentally set fire to the family home in the Willow Green Mobile Home Community. William sustained the worst injuries of the family.
Now 26, he still remembered the face of Monroe Township Fire Inspector Calvin Schmitt when he brought his newborn to the Fireman’s Building during the Monroe County Fair in August. Having known his daughter from school, William said Schmitt immediately looked familiar, and it didn’t take long for the memories to start rushing back.