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Mother, son headed to Bible study save folks from burning hotel

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HOPEWELL, Va. -- A mother and her 17-year-old son on their way to a Bible study class Wednesday evening jumped into action when they spotted flames shooting from a hotel in Hopewell.

Fire officials were called to the Riverside Inn and Suites at 711 West Randolph Street.

Riverside Inn and Suites Fire

Riverside Inn and Suites Fire

Connie Sylvester pulled into the parking lot stopped when she saw flames shooting from the hotel.

Her son, Trevor started running toward the structure to help.

“And I’m trying to catch up to him, because I don’t want him going into the hotel by himself,” Sylvester said.

At that point, fire crews had not arrived.

“I just saw a lot of fire coming out of the doors and windows,” Trevor said.

Sylvester said everyone on the scene went door-to-door to help those still inside evacuate .

Then the pair spotted an older woman being helped out of her room.

“As the lady was coming out, I mean the smoke was right above your head,” Sylvester said. "Trevor and I grabbed her and I said, ‘Let me take her and you keep doing what you’re doing.”

Trevor, who was wearing his favorite Bass Pro jacket, then spotted a young boy sitting with his arms pulled inside his shirt.

“And he’s wearing a shorts leave shirt and it was 44 degrees out there – and I was like – he needs a jacket,” Trevor said. “And I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, so I gave him my jacket.”

Sylvester said she was proud of her son because his actions speak to what her church teaches.

Trevor Sylvester

Trevor Sylvester

“I’m glad he has the heart to do that short of thing… We’re supposed to love God, love people, serve the world,” she said.

Hopewell Fire Marshal Heather Marks was impressed by Trevor’s actions.

“That says a lot about how that child was raised,” Marks said. “To help somebody and not think twice about it, and didn’t ask for his coat back, and just left.”

The pair eventually made it Bible study – albeit a bit late.

Trevor was worried his father would be mad that he gave his coat away, but both of his parents said they were very proud of their son’s act of kindness.

Marks said the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

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