Two Men Save Couple From Florida House Fire

SANFORD, Fla. --

Sanford Fire Inspector Mark James said two local men saved a couple's lives in a house fire Tuesday afternoon.

Friends Altoino Hayes and Bernard Burke said they saw smoke from a duplex and rushed into the burning home to see what they can do to help.

The fire happened at an apartment building in the 400 block of Terrace Court.

"I saw smoke coming out (of the house), and both of us ran over and jumped the gate," Hayes said.

The two men ended up saving two lives. James said what they did was nothing short of heroic.

"Had they not stepped in and assisted, the couple probably would have perished in the fire," James said.

"We just did what we had to do. I'm no hero,” Hayes said.

Dr. Russell MacPherson said he had been working in the office of their Terrace Court home when he heard his wife screaming.

Patricia MacPherson, 75, came running from the bedroom with her nightgown on fire, the flaming ashes falling off her nightgown setting more fires, Russell MacPherson said.

Russell MacPherson said he was able to get his wife into the bathtub, where Burke found them through the thick smoke.

"I couldn't see anything. I touched the top of her head and said, 'I've got you!' She yelped because of the pain from the burns. I grabbed her up and said 'I got you,'" Burke said.

After Burke and Hayes brought the couple outside, they said they went back inside to put out the fire with an extinguisher.

Fire crews said Patricia MacPherson is a smoker and that a cigarette most likely set her and a box of clothes on fire.

James said Patricia MacPherson was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where she was treated for third-degree burns on 30 percent of her body. Firefighters said Hayes was also brought to ORMC and was treated for smoke inhalation.

"She thanked us and said we saved her life. I just pray she makes it through," James said.

Russell MacPherson said Wednesday his wife is on a ventilator at the hospital.

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