Co-op News

Co-op Engineer Rescues Family

By Derrill Holly | ECT Staff Writer Published: January 9th, 2014

An electric cooperative engineer is being hailed as a hero for helping a Missouri family on a neighboring farm escape a house fire.

Robin Childs alerted his neighbors to a fire at their Jasper County, Mo., home. (Photo By: Linda Stander, Ozark EC)

Robin Childs alerted his neighbors to a fire at their Jasper County, Mo., home. (Photo By: Linda Stander, Ozark EC)

Robin Childs, 54, was on the job recently when he got a call from a motorist, whose car had slid off of an icy road, breaking a fence at Childs’ Jasper County farm.

With 50 head of cattle pastured near his home, Childs left Ozark Electric Cooperative’s Mount Vernon headquarters to make sure his animals were not wandering onto the road.

“I helped pull the gentleman out and secured the broken fence,” said Childs. “When I got back on my tractor, I looked up and saw smoke coming from a neighbor’s house, so I hurried home, got my car and dialed 911.”

Knowing firefighters had to come from some distance, Childs headed toward the burning house. When he saw flames on the porch, he began shouting and pounding on the door.

“That’s when Kim Tubbs came out with her three grandchildren,” said Childs. “The older girl [a four-year-old] was on her back, and she was carrying two premature newborns in her arms.”

Temperatures were in the single digits as flames engulfed the wood-frame house. Tubbs was ready to carry the children to her son’s nearby shop, closed at the time, when Childs intervened.

“I put them in my car and took them to my house to get them out of the weather,” said Childs, adding that he quickly returned to the Tubbs’ home to wait for firefighters. Once the flames were extinguished, the home was a total loss.

“We are extremely grateful to Robin for being there,” said Jack Tubbs, adding that his wife and grandchildren would have been in the cold for some time, waiting for family members to arrive.

It took a couple of weeks for the story to travel from Neosho-based New-Mac Electric Cooperative’s service territory where Childs lives, to Ozark EC’s headquarters. He never mentioned it and has downplayed suggestions that he is a hero.

“I was taken aback that it took so long for us to find out,” Patrick Oehlschlager, Ozark EC’s general manager told ECT.coop. “We weren’t surprised by his actions. He says ‘that’s just what anybody would have done.’ He’s humble like that.”

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