Person in wheelchair saved from burning Hickory home by neighbors

Neighbor rescues person from house fire

HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - Hickory firefighters were dispatched to a residential fire off of C. Avenue S.E. near the Lenoir Rhyne University campus on shortly before 4:00 p.m, on Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters reported seeing significant amounts of fire and smoke coming from the house and additional units were called. An initial search of the residence determined that all individuals at the house had escaped, including one individual in a wheelchair who was assisted by a neighbor.

One of those neighbors, Derek Lail, described how he jumped into action to help save the person.

“I come in from work and smell burning plastic,” said Lail. “We helped them off the porch and away from it and by the time got here to the edge of the house it was mostly flames.”

Lail says it took about 5 minutes for the flames to burn up the home and now it’s a total loss.

“It was so hot that no matter where you went you could feel it,” said Lail.

WBTV spoke with several neighbors at the scene of the fire on Sunday and learned that nine people lived at the house but that only three adults were inside the home at the time of the fire. They stated that the family was currently being housed in nearby hotels with the assistance of the Red Cross and that the house was considered a ‘total loss’.

Construction being done on the house made it difficult for firefighters to initially control the blaze but they were eventually able to put it out with the help of additional firefighters from St. Stephens, Long View, Mountain View and Conover stations.

An initial investigation into the matter determined that it was an electrical fire that had been started by a dryer. Damages were considered heavy by officials and the Red Cross is working with the residents for relief as a result.

Now neighbors are working to put on a yard sale and raise funds for the family because they did not have insurance.

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