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Everett Thomas ''Tommy'' Woodmansee III

Charlestown, R.I.


When fire broke out at The Station on Thursday night, Tommy Woodmansee, 30, a Charlestown, R.I., electrician and Army National Guardsman, immediately tried to get his date, 21-year-old Ashley Poland, to safety.

"He tried to pull her through the crowd," said Sally Poland of Wakefield, R.I., Ashley's mother.Ashley fell to the floor in the panic and slowly crawled toward one of the club's windows. She was trampled, but managed to reach safety, with severe burns.

Yesterday, authorities made official the news that the Poland and Woodmansee families had been dreading. Tommy did not make it out of the club.

Ashley and Tommy had been dating for about five weeks, her family said.

"Tommy was wonderful, we just loved him immediately," said Sally Poland. "He was very, very bright and very fun-loving," she said.

Tommy was raised in the small coastal town of Charlestown. He graduated from Chariho Regional High School in 1990 and in 1995 graduated from the New England Institute of Technology with a degree in electronics technology. He served in the Army National Guard in East Greenwich, R.I., for five years before pursuing his electrician's apprenticeship nearly three years ago.

His older sister, Cheryl Haines, said she was not at all surprised to learn from the Polands that Tommy tried to pull Ashley to safety.

"He wouldn't think twice about helping everyone around him. That was his instinct, and I believe he was in there helping other people, too," she said. "That is the kind of person he was."

Tommy was the baby of the family, close to older siblings Cheryl, and brother, Gerald, the family said.

His mother, Phyllis Woodmansee of Westerly, remembered her son with great sorrow and tears yesterday afternoon.

"He is my hero," she said. "He is just my hero."