EDITORIAL: Passerby credited with evacuating families

The York Dispatch, York Dispatch
  • Big turnout for York College students organize "YCP Hacks."
  • Hanover Young Marines spread anti-drug message.

Thumbs Up:

To York City resident Zaavan Butts who alerted occupants of the row home fire that was about to consume their buildings.

Firefighters work a structure fire at 600 Salem Avenue in York City, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Butts, who lives about a block from the homes that burned at 600 and 602 Salem Ave., said he was walking home after breakfast about 10 a.m. Monday morning when he noticed the flames.

"I just saw all this fire, so I rushed down there," he said. "It was spreading rapidly."

York City fire officials said neighbor Zaavan Butts alerted two families to a house fire and helped children escape safely.
(Liz Evans Scolforo photo)

He banged on the doors of two of the homes. In the first he alerted a mother and father and helped them evacuate their five children. In the second he needed to hop through a window to rouse a sleeping woman.

"I was like, 'Fire! Fire! Fire!' and I grabbed her baby and we got out," he said.

Officials: 9 kids, 4 adults displaced in York City fire

In all, Butts helped evacuate four adults and nine children from the potentially life-threatening situation.

York City Fire Chief David Michaels praised Butts’ efforts. He said it was a matter of minutes until the fire could have spread to adjacent homes.

The fathers of the children hugged and thanked him afterward. We’d like to send our thanks as well.

Thumbs Up: To the Hanover Area Young Marines, who staged a substance abuse rally in the Hanover square last weekend.

The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle, according to its website.

Two members of the Hanover Area Young Marines take part in a substance abuse awareness rally in Hanover on Saturday.

The members created signs for the rally and got plenty of support as passing motorists honked their approval. Attending were state Rep. Kate Klunk, R-Hanover, officers from Hanover-area police departments, and members of the York County Heroin Task Force, including York County Coroner Pam Gay.

In addition to the rally, the Young Marines share their message with the community in other ways. Littlestown High School junior Garett Brauning said he spoke to a group of Boy Scouts and three separate groups of adults on the dangers of tobacco to get a Young Marines commendation.

Hanover Area Young Marines rally against substance abuse

"Just being able to actually speak to people and have them listen to me, it's pretty great," Brauning said.

Thumbs Up: To York College students who organized the first “YCP Hacks,” a weekend-long technology development session at the Yorktowne Hotel to benefit the community.

The event drew about 80 people from as far away as Canada, who were challenged to create and improve apps and programs working from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Sunday.

The projects were judged by a panel from York County, including representatives of the York County Community Foundation and the York County Economic Alliance. Many awards included cash prizes.  

Jeff Vermeulen, executive director for the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, commended the Hackathon, saying he hoped the college could do it again next year. He said there were various sponsors at the event that could serve as resources to the students.

Sleep was not a priority for these techies.

York College hosts first hackathon

Matt Ritchie, from Rohersford, Montgomery County, said he planned on getting four hours sleep during the marathon weekend, so he could perfect the app he was creating.

"It's like playing paintball," he said. "You know it's gonna hurt ... but it's totally worth it."