Off-duty state trooper helps Muncie couple escape fire


Trooper Jacob Ridgway and scene of fire (Photos courtesy of ISP)

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MUNCIE, Ind. – An off-duty state trooper is being hailed a hero after he helped a Muncie couple escape a fire at their home.

Trooper Jacob Ridgway was driving his marked police vehicle along the 1200 block of Cowing Drive around 6 p.m. Wednesday when he noticed smoke coming from the back of the residence.

As he passed, Ridgway reportedly noticed the smoke turn from white to black in his rearview mirror. He then backed up and ventured up the driveway, where he found a vehicle fully engulfed in flames under the home’s carport.

State police say the homeowner, 79-year-old Jack Mitchener, was standing in shock near the fire. The trooper was able to get him away, but the man was unable to articulate anything.

A neighbor arrived and told Ridgway that Jack’s 72-year-old wife, Virginia, was still in the house. By that point, police say the fire was spreading to the rear of the house.

Ridgeway entered the home and found Virginia sitting in a chair with her walker nearby. Some was reportedly filling the house as the trooper helped the woman out the door.

Ridgway then ran to his car and radioed dispatch to summon fire units. EMS units also responded and checked everyone at the scene. There were no injuries.

“This incident demonstrates more than just being at the right place at the right time,” said ISP in a release. “It serves as a reminder that an Indiana State Trooper is always on duty, and it further demonstrates the value of troopers living in the communities they serve.”

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