Ed ‘Kip’ Malone was a happily married man for many years when he and his wife moved back to his home town in the Conception Bay South area of Newfoundland and Labrador. A few days later a strange woman came knocking at his door, and little did he know that this knock would take him in a direction he never thought was possible.
It turned out that his visitor was his enthusiastic next-door neighbor paying a courtesy call. Most times the neighborhood introductory chat includes details on the best community events, warnings about the local busy-body or the neighborhood grocer with the freshest beef. But when Ed ‘Kip’ Malone shared an unsolved mystery he’d always had with his friendly visitor, he was shocked that she held the key to helping him solve his long-time mystery — one he had wondered about for the past 65 years.
Back when Ed was 12 years old, he was sent on an errand to buy butter. His walk that fateful day on December 20, 1951, took a whole new turn. While on his errand Ed saw a house on fire and at the same time, heard a woman’s voice begging for someone to “save the children.” He realized the shout for help was coming from the third floor of the burning house, and without hesitation, he ran toward and into the burning structure to rescue the children they said were inside.
Recounting the story in an interview on CBC News’ St. John’s Morning Show, Ed Malone said, “I knew there was an emergency, so I just ran over to that house.” Ed had rushed up the stairs and soon had found a little girl and was about to take her to safety, but she refused to go outside without her sister who was also in the smokey, blazing structure. “She had no idea, and no more did I. The house by now was full of smoke,” Malone reflected. “But I knew there was a little girl somewhere.” So Ed Malone continued to search the room for the second little girl bravely. In the interview, Malone also shared that he did have some help in finding the second child. “I think it was the man upstairs that said to me, ‘Sweep your hand under the bed,’ and I did, and I grabbed the little girl. So now I had two, so out I went. And I wanted to get out of that house too because it was full of smoke and burning.”
Throughout his life, Ed Malone was happy that he had helped save the two little girls, but he had lost track of them and the rest of their family, who had lost everything in the fire. He also shared how he felt about losing track of the girls during the CBS News interview. “I was only 12 at the time, and I didn’t know anything about it and didn’t know anybody to ask. So I just let it go,” Malone shared. So the events of what happened to the family remained a mystery in his life. There was just no one or no link that could help him find out what became of the girls.
That was until his new neighbor, Margaret Fowler, knocked on his door in 2016. During Fowler’s visit to introduce herself, she mentioned that she had grown up in the St. John’s area on Central Street. Ed was excited to hear about where she used to live as that was the exact neighborhood in which he grew up and where he rescued the two little girls. He eagerly started telling her the story of rescuing two little girls from a burning house one day in December 1951. His revelation left Margaret Fowler in shock. He shared in the interview that Margaret Fowler just looked at him and almost fainted at hearing the story. Then she told him, “I’m the little girl.” While Margaret Fowler had very little recollection of the events of the fire and rescue, she knew enough to remember the event. Also sharing her sentiments in the CBS News, St. John’s Morning Show, interview, Fowler said, “When Kip told us that, I couldn’t get over it,” she said. “It’s a miracle as far as I’m concerned. I think it was meant to be.” Not too long after Malone and Fowler shared their mutual rediscoveries, Fowler introduced Malone to the other rescued sister, Barbara Earle.
The trio of rescuer and rescued now all believe that the arrangement for them to meet after all these years was lovingly arranged by their parents who currently reside in heaven.
In reflection, Earle and Malone both agree that their meeting was not just a coincidence. Fowler, the one who set the mystery-buster a-rolling said of the meeting after so many decades, “I don’t know, but it was something happened up in heaven that our parents got us together.”
One thing seems very evident in this beautiful, touching story, and that is, that a miracle has genuinely happened in the events where this boy saved two little girls from a fire. Then six decades later a woman knocked on his door.