One Firefighter’s Story, About The Tuesday Fire In Wayland

February 27, 2022

By Jasmine Willis

WAYLAND – A local volunteer fire fighter rushed to save lives after noticing the blaze that engulfed Main Street.

Cohocton Fire Department Fire Fighter Stephanie Jo Feely jumped into actions when she heard about the fire on Feb. 22.

Feely had just gotten to working on a client at Shannon’s Family Barber Shop, which is right across the street from the fire. When she heard over the scanner it was 12 N. Main St. she knew a client of hers lived upstairs. She raced over to do anything she could to help them get out of the burning building safely.

“I came to work at Shannon’s Family Barber. I was applying color to my first client when I heard the fire whistle. I volunteer with the Cohocton Fire Department, so being curious I turned on my scanner as I was finishing applying color to my client. I heard the address was 12 N. Main Street,” she said. “When I saw the amount of smoke coming from the building I immediately started shaking. I knew people lived up there and the age of the building. I left my client in the chair. Shannon and I went to help assist getting my client and her children who live upstairs out of the front window and down a ladder. They were unable to go down the hallway because of the amount of smoke.”

Feely added that the ladies brought business owners and families into the shop to get them out of the cold and smoke.

“When everyone was safe in the barber shop, I ran out back to get my bunker gear out of the truck. By the time I got back out front I met with the Cohocton Fire Department and followed my assignment. The very quick teamwork of all the responding departments is why everyone made it out safe,” she said.

Freely said 10 pizzas were brought to the shop to feed the first responders and the victims. The shop was opened for EMS rehab to set up.

“It is a small community we live in. I would hope that if we needed help that someone would do the same for us,” Feely added.

Feely has suffered two fires in her lifetime and understands how it changes everything in your world.

“It is so sad, and I feel for them. I have had two fires in my life. It is terrifying and changes your perspective so much,” she said. “I was four years old when I saw the Cohocton Fire Department come and save my pets and house. I volunteered with Beaufort City Fire in South Carolina in 2014 when I had a kitchen fire.”

Feely lived in South Carolina for four years. She lived in Mayville, North Carolina for a year. It was here she also volunteered for the Mayville Fire Department. All together she has been a volunteer fire fighter for seven years.

Feely is very touched by the incredible outpouring of support that has come in for all those impacted by the Main Street fire.

The families are still in need of housing. Anyone who has available housing can contact the legion and Shannon Family Barber Shop.