Former Kent State students rescue Emeritus professor from burning home


Kent fire fighter, Brock Murphy, surveyed the aftermath of a house fire on Columbus Street on Monday, Oct. 31. The home’s owner, Constance Mellott, former Kent State librarian, was rushed to Akron Children’s Hospital. Photo by Sam Verbulecz.

Julie Sickel

Two Kent State alumni saved a former professor when a fire broke out in her 221 Columbus St. house around 9 p.m. Monday.

Jared Atkins, 23, and Paul Marschik, 23, were both driving by the home of Constance Mellott, Emeritus professor of the School of Library and Information Science, when they noticed fire coming from windows of the two-level, brick building.

“(Marschik) saw the flames, and so he stopped his truck and backed it up,” Atkins said. “I jumped out of my car and ran into the house while he called 911.”

Atkins entered the second level of Mellott’s home to find her on the floor, asking for help.

“She was pretty badly burned,” Atkins said.


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Marschik joined Atkins and the pair helped Mellott out of the home before flagging down firefighters.

“It was just kind of instinct, you know?” Marschik said. “She’s OK; that’s what’s important.”

Rescue officials transported Mellott to Akron Children’s Hospital for treatment.

“Those two men are heroes,” said Roger Muzia, one of Mellott’s neighbors. Muzia said Mellott is in her early 80s.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but Kent Fire Chief Jim Williams said his crew would be investigating the three-bedroom, 1950s-era home in the next couple days.

“Tomorrow we’ll have a better idea of the damage estimates inside the home,” he said. “Once we get some daylight.”

Contact Julie Sickel at [email protected].