Man Rescues Woman From House Fire 20 Years After Losing Family in Blaze

By Darby Jones September 9, 2021
“I’m just glad I was here and did the right thing.”

Mark Collum was sleeping at his home in Rowley, Massachusetts when he heard his neighbor, Deb Shanahan, yelling for help around 5:00 a.m. 

“There were flames billowing out the back, smoke filling up the kitchen,” he told WCVB. “I just grabbed her and took her out.

“I had a little smoke in my lungs, same with her, so we just kind of took her outside and things worked out well.”

This was not the first time Collum experienced a house fire. In January 2001, his wife Lisa and their daughters — Lindsay, 4, and Carly, 5 months — died after a fire broke out in their home in Ipswich. Collum, who is a commercial fisherman, was not home at the time of the fire. 

The Rowley Fire Captain, Ron Merry, who was also on the scene at the Collum fire home 20 years ago, said that crews arrived at Shanahan’s home after Collum had already carried her to safety.

“There’s a side to the whole thing that’s just ironic,” Merry told WCVB. “I don’t know if a lot of people would do that.”

Shanahan sustained only minor injuries, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“I’m glad things worked out today,” said Collum. “I’m just glad I was here and did the right thing.”

Image source: KSBN Local 4