Local News

Raleigh firefighters rescue elderly man from burning house

Posted March 19, 2012

— Firefighters rescued an elderly man trapped in a burning house in northeast Raleigh's Oakmont subdivision Sunday evening.

A man called 911 at 8:49 p.m. and said he was trapped in his burning house at 4125 Kincaid Drive, said Raleigh Assistant Fire Chief Peter J. Brock. Another man and a Raleigh police officer tried to run into the burning building to rescue the man, but they couldn't get past the flames.

Firefighters arrived three minutes after the first alarm to flames and smoke pouring from the one-bedroom house.

A bystander also called 911 and said he saw "flames, ginormous flames, huge flames coming out of the back window." The 911 caller is with a man who says his 75-year-old father is trapped in the house and screams, "Dad!"

"We can't hear anything" from the trapped man, the 911 caller says.

Brock said the trapped man stayed on the phone with 911 operators, who told firefighters where he was. Two teams of firefighters searched the house and found him in a bedroom.

Oscar Watkins, the homeowner, was unresponsive and wasn't breathing, so firefighters worked to resuscitate him until paramedics arrived, Brock said. He was breathing on his own when EMS workers took him to WakeMed.

He was later flown to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he was listed in critical condition.

The man and police officer who tried to get into the burning home suffered smoke inhalation. They were treated and released from WakeMed.

Firefighters also rescued three dogs from the house. 

Approximately 30 firefighters labored to bring the blaze under control in 20 minutes. Brock said about 60 percent of the house was damaged, making it uninhabitable.

The cause of the fire hasn't been determined. It's being investigated by the Raleigh Fire Department, Wake County Fire Marshal, U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau and Raleigh police.

The home did not have smoke detectors.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • bitemedoughboy Mar 19, 2012

    Firefighters = HEROES!

  • we2hedonists Mar 19, 2012

    @ fdbull

    I'm a volunteer myself so why would I criticize firefighters? I was reposting another defamitory remark by another poster. Please learn how to read before you criticize another poster.

  • avnvideo Mar 19, 2012

    The home did not have smoke detectors, hard to believe someone could not have installed them for this gentleman

    people,pleaase look out for your older neighbors

  • shortcake53 Mar 19, 2012

    Thanks to all who helped this man, and prayers for his complete recovery.

  • avnvideo Mar 19, 2012

    hope a nice neighbor is taking care of his doggies

  • bluedogs1 Mar 19, 2012

    I work at Wake New Hope and we are staffed with 3 highly trained FF,, ! captain with 20+ years, myself, a 15 year veteran, and our FF who is very well trained for his years of service, and we all ALL EMTs, we saw the incident on CAD and could have easily been ahead of the RFD by 30 seconds or so, but we are not the closest station, just the way it goes sometimes, the city goes into the county just the same. GREAT JOB to my brothers on C shift!!! great save to RFD Rescue 1!! Hoppy and Rilo,, You guys rock!

  • mgbrantley Mar 19, 2012

    Just beacuse a FD is a volunteer department, regardless of where it is, does not make it any less qualified than a city station. My husband is a highly trained and qualified firefighter who has been with the city for 15 years and has been involved with a volunteer station since he was in the juniors. Volunteers are just that...volunteers. They take their own unpaid time to save and help others because they love what they do. Not because it is "practice" hoping that one day they can be a "real" firefighter. You can't criticize the FD and the firefighters for what the city or county should be doing for districting.

  • avnvideo Mar 19, 2012

    I am pretty sure if you ask for new hope they will get dispatched untill raleigh shows up,I called and asked the night of the tornados when the power lines that were down were energized and new hope who i asked for was there in seconds

  • thinkin out loud Mar 19, 2012

    The point to this story is that a citizen and a police officer risked their lives to do something they were neither trained to do, asked to do or paid to do. Firefighters did what they are trained and paid to do and readily go in without much thought to personal safety and the fact they may not go home when their shift is over.

    It still gets me how people take a story like this and turn it into such a negative thing and mostly about something they don't even know about. If New Hope would have been closest or needed they would have been sent. The city of Raleigh has many many pieces of equipment and the personnel to go with them. New Hope probably runs a skeleton crew at night.

    If you live in an area that is protected by a volunteer Fire Department, please call or go by the station and see what they need. Some are funded by taxes and get all the money they need depending on the tax base. very rural departments can always use money or may have a need for specific equipment.

  • fdbull Mar 19, 2012

    @ we2hedontist, you have no clue about the public service and before you criticize how it operates why dont you grow some courage and do it yourself, @ henry pea, just because a fire engine has raleigh on the side of it doesnt make it better than any other local department. The amount of training every firefighter goes through is the same, so im guessing if your house catches on fire there is no need to even dispatch a volunteer department no matter where you live and while your at it specifically ask for raleigh? NO