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Quick Action Makes Difference

School Security Officers Save People From House Fire

OAKLAND, CA - School Security Officers are on Oakland campuses to keep students safe. But during the first week of classes this school year, two OUSD Security Officers went above and beyond the call of duty to protect community members.


School Security Officer Heroes

On Wednesday, August 24, 68 year old Donald Mann, who works at West Oakland Middle School and 70 year old Curtis Devereaux, who patrols the adjacent Lafayette Elementary School, saw something alarming across the street. On the 1400 block of Myrtle Street, a house was on fire. “The flames were 20 to 40 feet in the air,” said Mann.


The pair called 911 and then ran over to the two-story Victorian home to see if anyone was inside. They banged on the door and two women came out, completely unaware that their home was on fire. “I couldn’t figure out how they didn’t smell smoke or feel the flames,” said Mann.


Because the front of the home was fully engulfed, the pair had to help the women climb over the railing and down to safety. Devereaux strained his arm in the process, but seems unconcerned about that because no one was seriously hurt. He and Mann had no hesitation about going to help. “It’s just something that kicks in,” said Devereaux. They say they worked so quickly that everyone was out before Oakland Firefighters arrived on scene.


The two men have plenty of history in Oakland. Mann previously worked at McClymonds High School. Devereaux graduated from McClymonds... in 1964. Despite their qualifications as senior citizens, the men raced over to “do what our spirit told us to do,” said Mann.


OUSD Network Superintendent Ron Smith, who was at the middle school, also went to help, but he said Devereaux and Mann did most of the work. OUSD and its police force want to commend all three men on their bravery and a job well done.


Despite the fact that everyone is safe, an OUSD family suffered significant losses. A 13 year old girl in the home attends West Oakland Middle School and two twin girls attend Lafayette Elementary, where their grandmother Rosalind Coleman was volunteering at the time of the fire.


Coleman says the family now has to find another place to live and replace many of their belongings. She has started a gofundme account and is grateful for the support of the community.