Neighbor Helps Rescue Family From Fire - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Neighbor Helps Rescue Family From Fire

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It's hard to look at the smoldering husk of a house and think, 'Life is good.' But when you consider just how bad things could have been...

"Before our crews arrived some quick thinking citizens were able to pull one adult and two children out of the house," said Tulsa firefighter Jose Ariza.

"Coming off the adrenaline is the hardest part," said neighbor Tom Rice. He was on his way home when he saw smoke coming from his neighborhood.

"Called the wife, I said, "Is there a fire around the mall?"

The blaze was just a few houses down from his own. The fire department had yet to arrive. And when he ran to the front door there were two other people there loudly pounding but getting no response.

"I said kick it in. One big guy named Andrea reared up and I thought he was going to knock it off the hinges," he said.

Smoke billowed out, and inside Tom saw a foot and ankle. He grabbed hold and started dragging.

"Sofa exploded whenever I was inside dragging her out. It was hot. She got fresh air and she said, 'My babies are in there!" Thought, 'Oh my God .'He

tried going back in but the smoke and heat were just too much.

"And somebody left a white t-shirt down and you folded it up, put it over my mouth, that stuff's only in the movies, it don't work," he said.

Plan B was to go in from the rear, and as they went around the side...

"One of the two daughters, one daughter had already busted out the window and was helping the other one out and the big guy reached up there and got 'em," he said.

The other two people who helped save the family; strangers.

"There's just good people working with you doing good things," he said.

When Tom and his wife went to the hospital to check on everyone, the youngest girl, 6 or 7, asked if her stuffed rabbit had made it out safely. No disrespect to Teddy, but Bunny was her best friend. So Tom and teh fire department commenced rescue: part two.

"The firemen were good enough to go back in in search of the rabbit and brought him out. They were already at the hospital so we had a neighbor throw him in the fluff cycle and we carried him down to the hospital. Life is good," he smiled.
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