Neighbor saves disabled mother of Laurens Detention Officer from house fire


An Upstate man is being hailed a hero for entering a burning structure and risking his life to save a disabled woman. 

The Laurens City Fire Chief tells 7News the fire happened at a home on Fleming St. 

Laurens County Detention Officer William Chamberlain and his family lived at the home. Chamberlain’s daughter, Ava, and his mother were the only ones home when the fire started on Monday, according to the Fire Chief. 

Chris Plaia tells 7News shortly after lunch he heard a strange knock on his front door. 

“The little girl that lives across the street came over and said there was a fire at their house,” Plaia said. “She asked if we could call 911 and we said yes. We asked is your grandmother out of the house and she said no I can’t get her out [by]myself.” 

Plaia says he remembered the little’s girl’s grandmother, Mrs. Chamberlain, is disabled. That’s when he and his wife raced across the street and entered the burning house. 

“When we got over… the lady was standing inside still. [She was] just by the couch which was completely ablaze at this point,” he said. 

Plaia says he could hear the structure rattling and knew he had to get out quickly. That’s when he decided to carry Mrs. Chamberlain out of the burning house. 

After he made sure everyone was safe, he learned the family’s dog was still trapped inside. 

Plaia says entering through the front door was not an option at that point. So he tried the backdoor and had to kick it open to let the dog out. 

The Laurens City Fire Chief tells 7News if it wasn’t for Plaia’s quick thinking, the fire could have been deadly. 

“We didn’t have time to think,” Plaia told 7News. “We didn’t think about being heroes. It was just doing the right thing.”

Donations for the family can be dropped off at the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office located at 216 W. Main St. during normal business hours. 

Clothing sizes:


PANTS: 40×30, SHIRT: 2XL or 3XL, SHOES: 11.5


PANTS: 16/17 Juniors, SHIRT: XL, SHOES: 7.5

William’s father 

PANTS: 32-34, SHIRT: XL, SHOES 10 

William’s mother 


Monetary donations can be made at United Community Bank. Make sure to let them know it’s for the Chamberlain family. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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