POOLER, GA (WTOC) - The Honorary State Fire Marshal Award is a rare honor given by Georgia's Insurance Commissioner.
But four hometown heroes were recognized for their bravery and courage when that fire broke out at the Pooler Walmart.
"I do therefore commission you, honorary state fire marshal," said Georgia Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jay Florence.
Florence awarded four individuals for their brave efforts two weeks ago at the Pooler Walmart.
"You know, because of their efforts, no one was injured. There was a substantial loss of property," said Florence.
Two Walmart employees, a Pooler police officer and a Walmart customer - who is also a member of the U.S. Coast Guard - jumped into action to put out the flames and to get folks out of the store:
- Tanja Kimmons - APO with Pooler Police
- Michael Shipman - Walmart customer/ U.S. Coast Guard
- Dennis Dozier - Walmart Employee
- Donna Mincey - Walmart Employee
"I saw the fire and it needed to be put out quickly," said Pooler Police APO Tanja Kimmons.
Within minutes, a group of strangers became a team of first responders until the fire department arrived.
"That's when I saw Mr. Shipman come down the aisle from the electronics carrying two jugs of water and I was like, this is better than nothing," said Kimmons.
In the meantime, she says these two Walmart employees, Donna Mincey and Dennis Dozier, kept calm and made sure everyone made it out of the store safely. Little did they know they would be in each other's company once again and they certainly were not expecting an award.
"So, on behalf of the state fire marshal, thank you," Florence said.
"It means a lot. It means I did my job," Kimmons said.
A teen is now facing arson charges for that fire.
The Pooler Walmart is still operating on limited hours.