TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A good Samaritan stepped in and helped save an East Texas man from a burning house.
Fire crews were called out shortly before 12:30 a.m. to put out a house fire at the 1700 block of Circle Drive in Tyler. According to a press release, the 911 caller said flames were visible in and on the structure.
Before firefighters could get to the house, Larry Wheeler was with his friends next door for a get together when a woman outside the home told Wheeler her husband was still inside.
As the home started to fill with smoke, Wheeler ran in and pulled the man to safety.
“I looked in every bedroom and didn’t see nobody. I came back out and I came around the corner, and Jimmy was laying on his side and he was on fire," Wheeler said. “I grabbed him and tried pulling him three or four times. I’m like I’m not going to be able to get him. That last pull was like something came over me and I drug him all the way out of the house like a rag doll.”
Firefighters quickly arrived on scene and upgraded the blaze to a two-alarm fire.
“Arriving units reported smoke coming from the structure, with heavy flames at the back of the house,” the press release stated. “A second alarm was ordered, summoning additional resources to the scene.”
The Tyler Fire Department responded to the blaze with five engines, one ladder truck, a battalion chief, and an investigator. All of the units were clear from the scene by 2:35 a.m., the press release stated.
Tyler FD firefighters quickly contained the fire, which was concentrated near the back porch area. They checked for flames inside and found that the interior of the home had been heavily damaged by heat and smoke, the press release stated.
“I know I’m not a firefighter, and I’m sure everybody would tell me not to do that, but I mean human nature - you want to save somebody, you’ve got to do it," Wheeler said. “Thank God I did what I did because I don’t know what his outcome would’ve been."
Fire officials said two people were transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where they were treated for smoke inhalation and burns.
“One patient was later transferred to a Dallas-area hospital for treatment, where he remains in critical, but stable condition,” the press release stated. “The other patient was released from the hospital overnight.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.