Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

TWO CITED FOR HEROISM IN FATAL FIRE

Kristopher Parker and Robert Womble at borough hall Wednesday night. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Kristopher Parker was dropping off his grandmother at the Evergreen Terrace apartments in Red Bank when he saw the smoke from the tiny house set way back off the street and ran toward it.

Robert Womble had just finished an early supper with his grandmother at the same complex when neighbors began screaming that there was a fire next door. Out the door and over a tall chainlink fence he went.

Both men, who did not know each other, converged on the back porch of the burning house, alerted to the possibility – the awful near certainty, in fact  – that an elderly woman was inside.

“These men never hesitated, they just reacted,” said Red Bank borough Administrator and Fire Marshal Stanley Sickels. “They did what trained people hesitate to do, and they did it without helmets, without protective gear.”

What they did on September 18 was to kick in the back door, which was blocked by piles of junk, and make their way through black smoke toward to the desperate voice of Phyllis Rudrow, crawling part of the way, even as Parker communicated with a 911 dispatcher via a Bluetooth cellphone device in one ear.

“She said, ‘I’m here! I’m here,'” 31-year-old Parker recalled to redbankgreen Wednesday night. He found one hand in the darkness, and then another. “I grabbed her by the wrists and pulled her toward me, and then I carried her to the door.”

By then, firefighters and other EMTs had responded to the alarm, and took the badly burned Rudrow into their care.

Rudrow, a cousin of the late William ‘Count’ Basie, died four days later from her injuries.

“A couple of minutes earlier, that’s it” Parker said, when asked to offer a few words at a borough ceremony honoring him and Womble Wednesday night. “A couple of minutes earlier, and maybe Mrs. Rudrow would still be here. But we had to put ourselves out there.”

“I just feel like God had me in the right place at the right time,” said Womble.

The two men had never before met.

Womble is 51 years old, a lifelong Red Banker, former sports star  – the second player in the history of the former Red Bank High School to rack up 1,000 basketball points he says with a laugh  – who now works in the supply department at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Lyons.

He’d known 64-year-old Rudrow his entire life. They were co-congregants of the Shrewsbury Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church, just steps away from Rudrow’s house on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

A 31-year-old teacher, Parker didn’t know Rudrow. He grew up in Red Bank and now lives in Long Branch, but “this town made me what I am,” he said, after Mayor Pasquale Menna and each of the six members of the borough council heaped warm praise on him and Womble.

Menna called their attempt to save Rudrow “an extraordinary act of self-sacrifice.”

 

 

 

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
YAPPY TOGETHER
RED BANK: Look for this cutie pie, named Sacramento, at Yappy Hour on Broadwalk Saturday. He's looking for a new home.
YELLOW RAINCOAT DAY
On a rainy May morning, the only golden sight on Broad Street this morning were the matching raincoats of Eileen and her dog Benny.
STOP. JUST STOP.
RED BANK: For those who don't get the meaning of a stop sign, crossing guard Diane Johnson amplifies the message with some colorful outfits. ...
RECORDS SKIP INTO TOWN
RED BANK: Devotees of vinyl records expected to drop needle at Broad and Mechanic Saturday. Here's why.
Feline fortunes on Monmouth Street
Christopher Russell and feline pal Princess take in some fresh air on a warm May night Thursday in the doorway of Gina’s Psychic Bouti ...
GOING UP?
RED BANK: Public Library will be closed Friday for the start of elevator construction. (Click for more.)
TREEBIRTH
RED BANK: Replacement of nine trees gets underway on South Street, where a wholesale removal angered residents last September. (Click for mo ...
RIVERSIDE FLOW
New Jersey Flow Arts brings together jugglers, poi spinners, hoopers and more weekly in Riverside Gardens Park.
Honeybee swarm carted away
Beekeeper Tanya Ptak of Ptak’s Apiary inspects a swarm of honeybees that chose a flower pot in the courtyard of Red Bank Primary Schoo ...
BELOVED POISONED DOG PHOTO SURFACES
   
THREE ON TOUR
RED BANK: Three borough sites will participate in a weekend of self-guided tours of 52 historic locations in Monmouth County May 4 & 5.
VOLUNTEERS GET INTO THE WEEDS
Toting plastic trash bags, 51 volunteers conducted a walking litter cleanup on Red Bank's West Side Saturday.
“IT’S A PARTY AT WAWA!”
You wish you could vibe like Brian, who lives on the other side of Hubbard’s Bridge. He caught redbankgreen’s attention in Red B ...
POPE OKS ORATORY
RED BANK: St. Anthony of Padua obtains papal approval to establish Oratory of St. Philip Neri, a community of priests and brothers devoted t ...
RED BANK: NEW MURAL BRIGHTENS CORNER
RED BANK: Lunch Break founder Norma Todd is depicted in a mural painted this week on the front of the newly renovated social service agency.
TULIPS TOGETHER
Spring tulips taking in the sunset outside the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank Monday evening.
RIVER RANGERS RETURN
River Rangers, a summer canoeing program offered by the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, returns this summer for up to 20 participa ...
DOUBLE DYLAN IN RED BANK
Trucks for a production company filming what one worker said was a Bob Dylan biography have lined Monmouth Street the past two days with cre ...
AFTER THE RAIN
A pear tree branch brought down by a brief overnight storm left a lovely tableau on the sidewalk in front of Red Bank's Riverside Gardens Pa ...
CONE OF UNCERTAINTY
Asked by a redbankgreen reporter why these cones were on top of cars, the owner of the car in the foreground responded: “That’s ...