Local News

Fayetteville woman saves elderly neighbors from fire

Posted October 13, 2010 5:13 p.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2010 6:54 p.m. EDT

— 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.

“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.