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Delegates honor deputy who saved kids

March 11, 2005|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS - For Deputy 1st Class Dave Norford of the Washington County Sheriff's Department, Feb. 25 started out normally enough. But while on patrol that afternoon, he spotted smoke in the 100 block of East Washington Street in Hagerstown.

By the end of the day, he'd become a local hero for rescuing three children from a burning apartment building.

Thanks to the effort of Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, Norford became a statewide hero Thursday morning as the Maryland House of Delegates honored him for his actions.

Donoghue sponsored a House resolution in recognition of Norford's "courageous, quick-thinking and heroic rescue before the arrival of firefighters, saving the lives of three sleeping children from their burning Hagerstown apartment."

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He introduced Norford, who arrived in full dress uniform, to House members who offered their applause as all five Washington County delegates joined him in the House chamber.

Norford also got a handshake from House Speaker Michael E. Busch.

Ask Norford to tell the story, and he modestly recounts how he saw the smoke and searched until he found the fire. He notified his dispatcher that the building was on fire, parked his car and ran to the building.

There he found three children, off from school for the day, sleeping in their apartment. He took the children, aged 6, 9 and 15, to his patrol car, covered them with a blanket and called their mother, who was working in Frederick, Md.

"The Red Cross took over from there," he said.

Investigators have since determined the fire was caused by a 4-year-old playing with matches elsewhere in the building. No one was injured in the blaze.

Norford, a 15-year veteran of the Washington County Sheriff's Department, was accompanied to Annapolis by his family and Sheriff Charles Mades.

Mades said the incident was "about the third time" in Norford's career that he had saved lives. He said it also was "the third time in a couple of weeks that deputies have rescued somebody."

"I'm proud he works for us," Mades said. "It's nice that the delegation is giving him this award."

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