Grayling High School senior saves couple from house fire
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Still donning a tuxedo from his Grayling High School prom, Austin Molands became a hero after attending the rite of spring event before he graduates.
The prom for Grayling High School’s Class of 2017 was held on Saturday, April 29, at the Sonshine Barn Wedding and Event Center, located just east of Gaylord.
Molands and Jenna Bryan, Austin’s girlfriend, attended the prom together.
Because Bryan was not feeling well, the couple left the prom early with fellow senior Carly Cross.
Instead of zipping down I-75, Jenna opted to take the more scenic route down Old U.S. 27, traveling through Waters and Frederic.
Just south of Otsego Lake, the students spotted flames lighting up the sky. Molands told Bryan to pull over, and he reported the fire to 911. He then told her drive up near the house.
“I had a gut feeling that there was somebody in there, so I told her to drive to the house,” Molands said.
Molands sprinted up to the house, entered a garage area which was already on fire, and started pounding on areas where there were no flames and yelling out to find if anyone was in the home. He then spotted a lady through a window, entered the house, and guided the couple out to a porch at the front of their home.
“They were asleep. They had no idea it was on fire,” Molands said. “I got them out, and the house just kind of was engulfed in flames after that.”
Ernest and Pat Morris are the property owners, who live off of Dodge Lake Road in Otsego Lake Township.
A motor home, pole barn, and the house were destroyed in the blaze, said Otsego Lake Township Fire Chief Dale Tucker.
Investigators were scheduled to return to the site of the fire this week to determine the cause of the fire, Tucker said.
Molands has not heard from the couple since the fire, but their son thanked him for his actions on Facebook and he hopes to meet them again.
“It’s a matter of time,” Molands said.
Although he appreciates being called a hero, hearing “God Bless You” and that others are proud of him, Molands believes everybody should step forward to help people in danger.
“I’m glad I got them out and I’m glad I’ve saved their lives,” he said. “It hasn’t hit me that I saved their lives, but it has hit me that I did something right.”
Molands, age 17, is the son of Pam and Dana Molands, and lives near Lovells. He said his parents always taught him to help those in need.
“They always taught me to do what’s right and don’t be selfish – think of others before you,” Molands said.
Molands said any memories of prom night went out the window after he stepped up to rescue the couple.
“It’s was a good prom and it was fun, but it was like a normal dance,” Molands said. “Saving their lives was a lot more memorable than my senior prom, definitely.”
The rescue will add to his training and next mission in life for Molands, who will ship out for boot camp for the United States Marine Corps on Aug. 14. He said he has had the ambition to join the Marine Corps since grade school.
“I just want the hardest thing to do in the world and I’ve always wanted to protect and serve my country,” Molands said.