SHERIDAN — When two teenagers saw their dad run to help at an apartment complex on fire, they did not hesitate to assist him and those in need.
The Leedom family was visiting their oldest daughter, Jessica, in Denver, and were getting ready to leave when they heard a loud roaring that sounded like a torch.
Terrie Hayes-Leedom, the mother, said she went to the terrace of her daughter’s apartment to see what was causing the noise. Across the parking lot at another building in the complex, a propane bottle for a barbecue grill was shooting flames out of the nozzle.
Hayes-Leedom started yelling across the parking lot, trying to let the residents know their porch was on fire.
Claude Leedom was already heading down the stairs of the building when he heard Hayes-Leedom yelling. He immediately jumped into action and ran across the parking lot to alert the residents of the apartment. Leedom is a firefighter and was dispatched out of Lame Deer, Montana, on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.
As he was heading to the fire, Leedom realized his two daughters, Teryn Leedom and TeNeyl Leedom were following behind him.
Teryn, 17, was on the phone with 911 while her sister, TeNeyl, 15, was locating a fire extinguisher.
TeNeyl said a fire extinguisher was close to her, but the hammer normally used to break the glass was missing. TeNeyl removed the fire extinguisher, casing and all, from the wall.
She then used her foot to break the glass. She ran the extinguisher up to her father on the third floor. Leedom said he had gone upstairs to evacuate the residents of the building.
Leedom sprayed the propane bottle and the surrounding areas of the terrace with the extinguisher, trying to stop the fire from spreading. He was not able to put the fire out, but local firefighters were there quickly and extinguished the fire.
Leedom said he was spraying from inside the apartment, leaning as far out of the doorway as he could. He did not know the structural integrity of the melting porch or if the propane bottle would explode.
Hayes-Leedom said while Teryn was busy using her cellphone to call 911, other bystanders in the area were using their phones to take videos of the fire.
Teryn said that it was a natural reaction to immediately pull her phone out to call 911. For being 15 and 17 years old, Hayes-Leedom said she is proud that her daughters know how to deal with emergencies and helped take care of other people. Their grandfather, she said, would have been proud of them. Hayes-Leedom’s father, Lyle Hayes, was the fire chief of the Sheridan Veterans Affairs Fire Department for 30 years.
Teryn and TeNeyl both attend Sheridan High School. Teryn said they learned about fire safety in health and safety class. They were taught about the different classes of fire extinguisher. TeNeyl said she gained more experience with fire safety in her welding class.
Leedom said he was proud of the bravery Teryn and TeNeyl showed in the situation.