Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Fort Carson Soldiers become local heroes

Staff Sgt. Larry Sanders and Staff Sgt. Angel Sims, Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, and Spc. Justin Janda, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 759th Military Police Battalion, stand in front of the building where they alerted residents of a Nov. 7 fire.

From left: Staff Sgt. Larry Sanders and Staff Sgt. Angel Sims, Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, and Spc. Justin Janda, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 759th Military Police Battalion, stand in front of the building where they alerted residents of a Nov. 7 fire.

Story and photo by Pfc. Andrew Ingram

4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office

During the early hours of Nov. 7, three Fort Carson Soldiers were returning to post along State Highway 115 when they noticed a glow from a nearby apartment complex.

The driver, Staff Sgt. Larry Sanders, noncommissioned officer in charge of criminal law, said as he saw that one of the upper apartments had caught fire.

“First thing I did was call 911, and they put me on hold,” said Sanders, assigned to Company A, Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Inf. Div. “I was yelling, ‘there’s a fire, there’s a fire!’ and they just said, ‘hold please.'”

As Sanders waited for the proper authorities, Staff Sgt. Angel Sims, court reporter, Company A, DSTB, 4th Inf. Div., contacted OnStar and was able to immediately report the fire.

Before Sanders could bring the car to a complete halt across the street from the flaming apartment building, Sims and Spc. Justin Janda, a paralegal assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 759th Military Police Battalion, were already out of the vehicle and sprinting toward the fire.

Sims explained that to reach the apartment complex she had to climb a slat fence and, in the process, lost her high-heeled shoes.

Sanders noted that as they approached the building they didn’t hear any fire alarms and the buildings occupants seemed oblivious to the danger.

The Soldiers began to yell, attempting to alert the residents, but when it became clear that the occupants couldn’t hear them, they entered the flaming building.

Janda and Sanders took the upstairs apartments, while Sims banged on the downstairs doors to alert sleeping residents of the danger.

Sanders said the Soldiers were able to get everyone out of the building in a matter of minutes, well before the fire department arrived on the scene.

Shortly after clearing the danger area, Sims fell to the ground with a sharp pain in her right ankle and foot.

“I don’t know how I hurt it,” said Sims. “I think it must have been the adrenaline that kept me from feeling it. But I’m glad I didn’t notice until after I got out of there. I guess that’s what I get for running into a fire barefooted.”

Sims was taken to Evans Army Community Hospital where it was determined she had a broken foot.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze before it destroyed the building or spread and were able to rescue a dog that had been trapped inside, but the quick thinking and bravery of the three Soldiers probably saved the lives of several people.

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