Local News

Fayetteville woman saves elderly neighbors from fire

Posted October 13, 2010

— A Fayetteville woman is being called a hero after helping elderly couple escape a burning house on Monday.

Rachael Santillan said she was standing outside when she noticed smoke pouring from her neighbors' house at 201 Oakridge Ave. She said she went inside calling for them, but no one answered. Soon, heavy smoke forced her to go outside for some fresh air.

When she returned inside, she found the couple struggling to get out.

“She was moving with a walker and he had a cane,” Santillan said. “I first tried to let her walk with the walker, but she was going entirely too slow. She just couldn’t walk very fast. So, I decided that it was probably better if I just picked her up.”

Fayetteville Deputy Fire Marshal Roger Sullivan said Santillan probably saved the lives of her neighbors. Sullivan said Santillan put herself in danger by going into the house.

Fire Woman saves neighbors from fire

“You don’t want to do that on your own because she could have been overcome by smoke and been a victim herself,” he said. “But very courageous on her part, what she did.”

The couple was not injured. They are now staying with friends.

Preliminary investigations suggest the fire began in the basement. The cause of the fire has not been determined.


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  • Unknown Caller Oct 15, 2010

    I know this lady.
    She really is a wonderful person.

  • rickryan86 Oct 14, 2010

    i live just a few blocks down from that house and heard the sirens,,,just glad that some-one was able to help the way she did,,,,great person

  • FromClayton Oct 14, 2010


  • illegals--GO HOME Oct 14, 2010

    What a brave young lady. Kudos to her and we need lots more "good" stories in the news instead of all the tragedy and gloom and doom stories!

  • down by the pond Oct 13, 2010

    she is a hero ,,,,,,

  • Adelinthe Oct 13, 2010

    What a wonderful story!!!

    Kudos to her.

    Prayers for them.

    Thank God they all made it out safely.

    God bless.


  • shortcake53 Oct 13, 2010

    Good job sweetie. We all need neighbors like this....

  • paddie Oct 13, 2010

    Thank goodness there are people like her in this world!

  • rusty101 Oct 13, 2010

    Way to go. You are a saint. God saw this. Bravo