80-year-old area man rushes in, saves area house from burning down
By Jayson Larson
KEMP -- Like many thrust into his position, Wally Wharton really doesn't think he did anything heroic when he rushed into his neighbor's burning house and put out a fire a week ago.
Here's Wharton's grand description of the incident: "We just got the water hose and put it out."
He may not think he's a hero, but the couple who owns the house, Lee and Sharon Phillips, say otherwise.
"I asked Wally how in the world he got (the fire) out," Lee said. "He said, 'It wasn't me. It was God.'"
The Phillips' home, on Kaufman County Road 4028, caught fire a week ago. Sharon suspects something fell into her trash can and ignited the blaze. She was asleep inside when the fire started, and her husband was not home.
Sharon awoke to the smoke and called the fire department, which informed her it would be awhile before they could get out to their rural home. She then called her neighbors, Wally and his wife, Eloise. The Whartons got dressed and rushed down the road, about a third of a mile.
Wally wasted little time, finding a water hose outside and moving into the house. He knew generally where the fire was in the kitchen, but he couldn't really see anything.
"I remember that the fire was rushing," he recalled, pointing to the entry way into the kitchen. "This whole area just looked orange from the flames."
With one hand over his nose to keep out the smoke and the other on the hose, he continued to spray at the flames, which spread over his head on the ceiling. He said he held his breath the whole time, although he doesn't really know how long that was, and the heat was almost more than he could stand.
"We were outside screaming at him trying to get him out of there," Sharon said. "I don't know how he ever made it out of there."
Wally managed to extinguish the blaze, and he then crawled out of the house. The fire was out when the fire department arrived.
A tour of the area in the house where the fire happened shows mostly smoke damage. Sharon said the entire house will be repainted. A few of the vents and some window blinds were melted by the heat, but otherwise, the house was saved.
Said Lee: "We can never repay him."
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Thread: to the rescue
03-13-2005, 03:13 PM #1
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
to the rescue
03-13-2005, 05:12 PM #2
- Join Date
- Sep 2003
Wow, good for this guy. People on here are probably going to trash this man for what he did, but if you were in the same situation wouldn't you do the same?
03-13-2005, 05:27 PM #3
HEROFire Marshal/Safety Officer
"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
Success is when skill meets opportunity
Failure is when fantasy meets reality
03-13-2005, 07:37 PM #4
- Join Date
- Aug 2001
Now there's a guy that missed his calling!Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1
...and before you ask - YES I have done a Bloody SEARCH!
03-13-2005, 09:28 PM #5
All I know, is that at 80 - I hope I'm as willing and able to help out my neighbors.
I'd buy the man a beer anytime.
We had a while there that the cops were doing the same thing for us, pulling garden hoses into fires and putting them out. Isn't it funny how they're always there on fires before you are, but if you need them to secure a scene, you're waiting forever?
***DISCLAIMER*** I like our local law enforcement, we work well together, and they do a great job for us and our citizens. We also enjoy busting each other's circular objects. Thank you.
03-13-2005, 09:38 PM #6
- Join Date
- Oct 2000
I wish that guy was my neighbor. He reminds me of a friend I had, about the same age, that passed away a year ago. He was a WWII vet, quit high school to go to North Africa. Even at 75, he was tough as nails, and would do anything for a neighbor. He was the very definition of the "greatest generation".
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