Madison County officials honored a good Samaritan who came to the aid of his neighbor and saved her life.
Chairman Kurt Prenzler and County Board member John Janek of Granite City presented Billy Eugene Taylor with a Certificate of Recognition on Friday, June 30 for his heroic efforts in saving the life of Barbara Hayes around 3 a.m. on April 25 at 2128 Miracle Avenue, Granite City.
Haye’s reached out to the county and said she felt Taylor deserved recognition because if it weren’t for him, she wouldn’t be here today.
Janek said Taylor’s actions went above and beyond as a neighbor.
“Thank you for your heroic efforts in saving the life of Ms. Barbara Hayes,” Janek said.
Taylor said he would do what any neighbor would do. He said it’s about looking out for one another. He said a loud pop woke him up and when he walked outside he saw the house two doors down exploded and caught Hayes house on fire.
“Her carport was going up in flames,” Taylor said. “The house that exploded was fully engulfed and I knew she was home since her car was parked under the carport.”
Hayes, who wears a CPAP machine when she sleeps, said she didn’t hear anything. She said that Taylor started banging on her front door and window and yelling her name until she woke up they told her to get out of the house because it was on fire. Hayes said Taylor also asked for her car keys and moved her car to a driveway across the street.
Although Hayes and Taylor live in unincorporated Madison County, the house that exploded is located in Granite City. Three fire departments arrived on scene — Granite City, Mitchell and Long Lake.
Hayes, who turned 70 in March, said she grateful. She said her son, Jonathan Hayes, who is a Granite City firefighter, arrived to comfort her.
“This fire shook me up so bad,” she said. “Thanks to God and my neighbor I made it out alive.”