Local News

Raleigh firefighters rescue elderly man from burning house

Posted March 19, 2012 6:11 a.m. EDT
Updated March 19, 2012 3:54 p.m. EDT

— 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.