Men honored for valor in Franklin County fire rescue

Deputy, 2 bystanders pulled woman from burning home

By Kristina Belcher, Published:

When he became a sheriff’s deputy, Montey Chappell took an oath to serve and protect the people of Franklin County.

That’s why he said last week’s fire rescue doesn’t make him a hero — he was only doing his job.

“I’m uncomfortable with that,” Chappell said, at the mention of the word “hero.”

But others disagree.

An appreciation ceremony was held in the Franklin County Fiscal Courtroom Thursday to honor Chappell and two other men — David Chadwell, of Frankfort and Jess Thompson, of Lawrenceburg — for what local officials call their “selfless acts of heroism.”

“They put their own health and safety into question,” Kentucky Fire Marshal William Swope said. “… they came without hesitation.”

Chappell was on his way home from a patrol shift Feb. 5 when dispatch received a call about a house fire on Darbywood Drive. He happened to be in the area so Chappell responded, arriving first on the scene.

After kicking in the front door, Chappell found a woman, Linda Meiseles, lying unconscious on the floor.

That’s when Chadwell and Thompson — who had been doing construction work across the street — jumped in to help.

“Anybody else would have done the same thing,” Thompson said.

Chappell said flames were burning over their heads as they pulled Meiseles from the home — a process that took three or four minutes.

“It seemed a lot longer than it was,” Chappell said.

She survived and is listed in critical but stable condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“God put us in the right place,” Thompson said.

At the ceremony, Swope presented the three with certificates of valor. They also received a certificate of appreciation from Fiscal Court, presented by Franklin County Fire Chief Kevin Hutcherson.

“We appreciate the honorable thing you have done to sacrifice yourself for another individual,” Hutcherson said.

Sheriff Pat Melton presented Chappell with a medal of valor.

“All he had to do was turn right, he was going home,” Melton said, after the ceremony, “he turned left.”

“It’s appreciated,” Chappell said of the attention he was receiving, but “it’s not necessary.”

Chadwell said he felt the same way.

“It feels good, it feels great,” Chadwell said. “But I don’t think I’m a hero.”

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  • My name is Russ Haynes and I am the oldest son of Linda Meisles.  I personally want to thank my parents neighbor Mathew Arden and his wife as my father has let us know that you were a part of her rescue when we met him in Nashville at the ICU burn unit at Vanderbilt.   Also a huge thank to the Police officer and the 2 construction worker.  We just lost my grandmother several months ago and the thought of losing my mother also would of been devastating to our family.   I cannot say in words to everyone involved in her resue how grateful i will be to all of you for the rest of my life.  God bless you all!!!

  • Just_Saying, Thanks for bringing this to peoples attention. I never seen any mention of this neighbor in any of the stories (there's been plenty) and it is a shame that this person was overlooked when others were getting recognized in this fashion. I want to say WHY or HOW because this deputy had to have known, the other two men must have known.

    user_37497, god bless you and your wife.

  • Nice. :o)

  • Thank you for your comments, Mr. Meiseles. I hope your wife makes a full recovery.


  • My name is Gary Meiseles. The house fire referenced in this story was at our home. Obviously, the person these fine gentlemen saved is my wife. I can say "is" instead of "was" solely because of these gentlemen as well as our neighbor who for some reason has been left out of the various stories. So, in addition to thanking these three brave souls, two of whom I have had the honor to meet, shake their hands and thank, I want to also acknowledge and thank our neighbors, Melinda and Matthew Arden. Thanks to all of these wonderful people, Lynn and I will be celebrating a very special Valentine's Day. We regret that we were not at the ceremony but I know that when we return home Lynn will want to meet and thank everyone. So, from the bottom of our hearts "thank you," although that is not saying nearly enough.

  • While I'm not diminishing the heroic efforts of these gentleman, I am wondering why Matthew Arden, neighbor of Ms. Meiseles, was not recognized for risking his life to enter the house and pull her to safety.  These men did not act alone. Mr. Arden also helped rescue Ms. Meiseles, and he should be honored for his contribution.