Local News

Man saves family from Henderson house fire; four badly burned

Posted June 25, 2011 1:44 p.m. EDT
Updated June 25, 2011 7:11 p.m. EDT

— A couple and two children were badly burned in a fire at a house in Henderson Saturday morning, fire officials said.

Fire Chief Danny Wilkerson said that a family of six was asleep at the home when the fire broke out in the living room of 210 Carolina Ave.

Neighbor Richard Williams said he kicked in the door to check on the family when he looked out his window and realized the house was on fire.

"There was so much smoke," he said. "You couldn't see in the house."

He said he woke the family up. Tiffany Moncada, 12, was the first to escape.

"I jumped out my window and jumped the fence and busted all the windows in the house to get my Mama and Daddy and everybody else out," she said.

After the rest of the family had gotten out alive, Williams heard 4-year-old Jessica Bustos screaming.

"I got a hold of her in the window and I pulled her out," he said. "When I pulled her out, I said, 'Lord, have mercy.'"

Jessica Bustos wasn't breathing, and was airlifted to the Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. 

Her parents, Barbara Ann Lassiter and Lorenzo Bustos, and her brother, 11-year-old Michael Moncada, were also taken to the burn center for treatment.

Barbara Ann Lassiter and Jessica Bustos were listed in critical condition and Michael Moncada was listed in fair condition as of 7 p.m. No condition update was available for Lorenzo Bustos.

Tiffany Moncada and her brother, 3-year-old Alejandro Bustos, were uninjured and were placed in the care of their maternal grandfather, James Lassiter.

Lassiter said he credits Williams with saving the family.

"I'm so grateful to him, I don't know what to do," he said. "I already went over and thanked him. If it wasn't for him, I'm pretty sure all of them would have perished."

Wilkerson said the State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to help determine the cause of the fire.