By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 13, 2018
QUINCY, Fla. (WCTV) -- Several good Samaritans risked their lives to save an elderly man from a house fire.
The fire began in the man's apartment around 8:30 a.m. Monday morning at Omega Villas on Strong Road in Quincy.
People in the area say the man is a 67-year-old disabled man, known as Tommy.
"Flames and that's all you can see," said Gadsden County resident Charleston Paul.
Paul says the flames and smoke coming from the apartment is what caught his attention. After stopping on the side of the road, it was finding out an elderly man was inside the home that made him really jump into action.
Paul says he and others tried going into the front door. "Every time we tried to go through that smoke and those flames, man, we couldn't go against those odds," he said.
He says they went to the back door and got through the glass.
"I took off my shirt and kind of reached in there to unlock it, because the knob, the door handle was so hot from the heat. As soon as I unlocked the door, there he was right there. I leaned down and I pulled him. Some of the other guys assisted me in pulling him out. We pulled him out in the grass," Paul said.
Nearby resident Shanterica Williams had already tried rescuing the man. She said she knocked on his door, and then knocked on neighbors' doors and blew her car horn to alert others to get out.
Then, Williams and a transit bus driver who'd stopped to help, made the first moves.
"She kicked the door in. I kicked the windows in. We ran to the back to try to get him out. It was a lot of smoke," Williams said.
They listened for the man's voice.
"We were like, 'Are you okay?' He said, 'I'm back here, I'm back here. ' Once we heard his voice, we knew that he was still alive," said Williams.
The brave efforts are taking an emotional toll on the so many who did all they could.
"It was bad. When we pulled him out, he was literally burning, smoking," Paul said.
Authorities say the man was taken to a hospital in Tallahassee Monday. WCTV is told he was later transported to a hospital in the burn unit in Gainesville.
Everyone is praying for a speedy recovery.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Authorities say the other men who helped Paul pull the man out of the apartment were a maintenance worker at the apartment complex and a resident who lives there.