Anderson Co. Sheriff’s employee saves elderly neighbor and his home

HONEA PATH, S.C. (WSPA) –  An Anderson County Sheriff’s office employee is being praised for saving her elderly neighbor’s life and home.

Katie Mills has been a Crime Analyst at the sheriff’s office for years. She was going home from work Friday when she saw an unusual amount of smoke billowing from her neighbor’s chimney.

87-year-old Walter Palmore had started his wood fire oven like usual on Friday in his Honea Path home. He’s lived there for decades, but this time when he walked out back, he didn’t notice anything was wrong.

Thankfully, Mills drove by at the right time. She ran in to find Mr. Palmore and get him to safety.

Soon after, their other neighbors followed her to the home. They grabbed a latter, turned on a garden hose and sprayed the chimney down.

“If the soot coming from it had fell on it or fell on the shingles and caught them on fire, they’d have burnt the house up,” Palmore explained. “My neighbor was more frightened than I was.”

By the time firefighters got there, the flames had already been put out.

Now, Mr. Palmore says he is grateful Katie saw the smoke and came to help him and save his home.

“That’s what we do. We look out for one another all the time,” he said.

The sheriff says Mills doesn’t think her actions were a big deal, but he and their colleagues disagree.

“She is very modest about it and says that she was just doing what she should do as a human being,” Sheriff Chad McBride said. “We were very proud of her to hear that. Sometimes a lot of people see that they just point their phone in that direction and start filming and they don’t take in consideration that somebody might need rescuing. Sometimes people are scared to act. We are in a great community and I think a lot of people would step up, but Katie certainly is a hero in our books.”

Mr. Palmore tells 7 News the chimney hadn’t been cleaned out in years and he believes that is how the fire started. He has since had someone clean it out to prevent it from happening again.

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