Local News

Men Hailed as Heroes After Saving Two Children From Burning Home

Posted February 22, 2000

— A house fire in Henderson killed one man and seriously injured another. Both men are being called heroes for risking their lives to save two children.

The fire broke out Tuesday afternoon at 413-B Pettigrew Street. A second story window was the only way out for four people trapped inside.

From that window, Ralph Daniels, 48, threw his sons, 16-month-old Jartavious and his 8-year-old brother Christopher Ross, out the window to safety. Then he tried to find his cousin and neighbor, Ronny Terry.

That is when Daniels disappeared. Neighbors nearby watched was what happening and took action.

Neighborhood handyman Gregory Lewis grabbed his utility ladder, hoping he could help save his friend.

"It was too hot, I could feel the heat on my arm, but I tried twice and then I couldn't get him. So the only thing I knew was that I had to try to pull him out and put him on my shoulder," says Lewis.

Terry, 44, never made it out of the house, but Daniels survived. Bruce Venable jumped in and performed CPR. He says the scene was chaotic.

The SBI and Henderson fire investigators spent much of Wednesday sifting through remains. On Thursday, they ruled the fire as accidental. They say the fact that three people survived was no mistake.

"I think the father did a good job getting them out, assisted by the neighbors. The man that died in the fire was supposedly coming to assist also, and of course, he lost his life trying to save someone else's," says Chief Danny Wilkerson of the Henderson Police Department.

Daniels, 48, is in critical condition at UNC Hospitals. His son Christopher was released from the hospital Friday. Jartavious, who received minor injuries, was treated and on Tuesday.


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