‘They’re my angels:’ Family lucky to be alive after officers rescue them from fire

‘They’re my angels:’ Family lucky to be alive after officers rescue them from fire
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 6:01 PM EDT
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BOILING SPRING LAKES, N.C. (WECT) - Not even a day after celebrating Easter, a family’s home is destroyed by a fire. They say they wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the responding police officers.

“We got woken up with loud pounding at like around 3 a.m.,” said Jody Sharpnack, a mother of two. “I shot straight up and didn’t know what was going on.”

Sharpnack was asleep in her room with her four-year-old and had no idea that a brush fire was raging outside her home. In just seconds, the room they were sleeping in would be in flames.

“I went out into the living room and saw a cop standing there,” said Sharpnack. “He’s like ‘you guys need to leave, you’ve got to leave.’ I’m like ‘what is going on?’ and my husband’s like ‘our house is on fire!’”

Boiling Spring Lakes police officers Shane Benfield and Christina Hearn responded to the scene after a neighbor happened to take his dog outside and saw the fire. Investigators would later determine that it started from a bonfire that hadn’t been properly put out. Now, the flames were licking the side of the Sharpnack’s home.

“That night, we had very high winds and it was dry conditions,” said Benfield. “We knew the urgency of trying to get to that area and making sure no houses were in jeopardy.”

Next door, Officer Hearn was knocking on another door to make sure those neighbors were safe. She saw some embers from the fire landing on the roof. Luckily, no one was home.

“My thoughts were...getting those people out so in case that house started to catch fire, they were already gone,” said Hearn.

In the Sharpnack’s home, chaos broke loose. Jody Sharpnack ran back to her room for her daughter, still asleep, and saw the flames coming through her window and climbing up the wall.

“I started freaking out and screaming, just like ‘no, no, no,” Sharpnack said. “I didn’t want to leave and I knew I had to leave and everything was going to be gone.”

Officer Benfield grabbed her daughter and tossed her to Sharpnack’s husband before rushing them outside. They left with only the clothes on their backs and her husband’s truck. The first time she came back to what was left of her home, she broke down in tears.

“I know it might not look like much to some but it means a lot to us,” said Sharpnack.

The Sharpnacks had moved into their first home only a year ago after moving to the area from Minnesota. In their short time there, Jody Sharpnack says her family grew and healed from past addictions and made memories as they raised their daughters.

“We had a lot of growing here, a lot of healing going on here. It was really traumatic for us to lose our house.”

As heartbroken as she is to lose their home, Sharpnack says her family couldn’t be more thankful for how things turned out. In a matter of hours, the community was providing her children with clothes and toys. More importantly, they found a place to stay.

“I called my sponsor and my sponsor called a lady she knows and that’s how we found a home not even 12 hours later,” said Sharpnack. “It’s just crazy because most people don’t find homes that fast. It’s just crazy how it all happened.”

At Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, the city is recognizing the officers for their heroics. However, Benfield and Hearn say they were just doing their job.

“All my officers are like that,” said Chief Greg Jordan, proud of his officers and thankful to have such a brave department. “I don’t think I’ve got a single officer that wouldn’t do that.”

Still, Sharpnack calls them “her angels.”

“You may have been doing your job, but I truly believe God sent you to save us,” said Sharpnack.

As for the teen that called 911 in the first place, Sharpnack says she hasn’t had the chance to thank him yet, but she knows he played a part in saving her family’s life that morning

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