Home a total loss, Harlanite saves the day, family dog does not survive - see video below

Barb Jorgensen beats on exterior bedroom wall to wake father and son
Harlan Fire Dept. Chief, Roger Bissen, cited Jorgensen as a hero for saving the lives of the father and his son, who likely could have died from smoke inhalation.

Click here to see the interview with Harlanite Barb Jorgensen and read first-hand accounts of what transpired that morning in the Harlan News-Advertiser available on Thurs., Dec. 31



Harlanite Barb Jorgensen, likely saved the lives of Theo Behrens and his three-year-old son, Ambromitis Behrens, after she started beating on her next-door-neighbor’s southwest bedroom wall to awake the two who she assumed were sleeping in the southwest bedroom of the one-story home, two bedroom home. The family’s dog did not survive the fire.

“I was afraid if they came out the front door the flames would explode so when I saw his face (the father) through the bedroom window I told him to kick your window out -- as smoke continued to roll out the front of the house,” Jorgensen said. She welcomed the father and son into her home and called 911 for the Harlan Fire Dept. who was located just two blocks away.

Harlan Fire Dept. Chief, Roger Bissen, cited Jorgensen as a hero for saving the lives of the father and son who likely could have died from smoke inhalation in the home which lacked smoke alarms.

Jorgensen, had gone out to scoop snow from her sidewalks around 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 28, when she noticed thick black smoke pouring out the front of the adjoining rental house. The mother, Johana Torres, Harlan, was at work and their daughter, Lyla Behrens, 2, and newborn, Harper, were at day care.

The Harlan Fire Dept. had firemen on site from 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. and welcomed assistance from the Avoca and Westphalia Fire Depts., as well as the Harlan Police Dept. and MediVac Ambulance Rescue Service.

Jorgensen also thought the family did not have renters insurance.

• Cash donations - accepted at Town and Country Credit Union

• Food - is being cared for by Iowa Community Kitchen, 712-267-0755

• Temporary housing - has been provided for by the Red Cross and Lions Club

• Clothing - is needed for the mother (womens medium shirts, size 8 pantsand father (mens large shirts, 30x36 pants), boys clothing and pull-ups (4T);  girls clothing and size 4 diapers (2T) and newborn clothing and size 1 diapers.



Harlan Newspapers

1114 7th Street
P.O. Box 721
Harlan, IA 51537-0721

(800) 909-6397

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