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Neighbors aid victim of fire
Community rallies to support North Stafford woman injured in kitchen fire.

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Date published: 4/3/2002

hardly have time to get
acquainted with their own children, much less the folks next door or across the street.

That's why it is refreshing to hear about members of a neighborhood rallying to support one of their own.

That's just the case in St. George's Estates off Garrisonville Road in North Stafford, where a story of teamwork, compassion and generosity is unfolding.

It all began around midday on Thursday, March 14, when Sarah Tieng was heating some oil in a wok in her kitchen on St. Peter's Court. Tieng is a 30-year-old mother who is seven months pregnant with her second child. Her 3-year-old son, "J. J.," was in the house, along with her mother.

Somehow a fire started, and Tieng was badly burned on both arms and down the left side of her body.

"I heard this blood-curdling scream from down the street," recalled Jerry Hillard, a retired firefighter and emergency medical technician who lives just around the corner on St. Christopher's Drive.

"I couldn't tell where it came from. But then I heard it again and saw a commotion. There were several women and a small child
in the street. And one was badly burned."

Hillard said he saw smoke coming from the house, but quickly established that no one else was inside.

He said Tieng appeared to be in shock, and he tried to comfort her while a call was made to local fire and emergency personnel.

"I tried to get her stabilized," Hillard said of Tieng. "Her pulse was in the 180-to-200 range."

A nearby construction worker put out the flames, which had engulfed the kitchen cabinets. Among other neighbors who quickly responded were Vikki Lovejoy and Norma Jean Dixon.

A call was placed to Tieng's husband, Sokun, who is known as Johnny. He works in Alexandria.

When medical personnel arrived, they rushed Tieng to a nearby school, where she was evacuated by helicopter to the trauma center at Washington Hospital Center.

As of last week, she still was receiving treatments there for second- and third-degree burns
to 65 percent of her body.

While recovery continues for Tieng, so does the support of her friends and neighbors.

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