Man pulls victim to safety from burning home

May 17, 2009 3:21:17 PM PDT
A quick-thinking man from Philadelphia is being called a hero after he pulled a neighbor from a burning home overnight. Fire broke out inside a home on the 3500 block of North 23rd Street in the city's Tioga-Nicetown section just before 4:00 a.m.

Before firefighters even arrived Calvin Gamble Jr. spotted the smoke and flames.

"I ran and started beating on the door, and I could hear a man's voice saying 'I'm in here,'" Calvin Gamble said.

When Calvin Gamble heard the voice from inside, he called for the man to hurry and get out.

Flames were racing through the upper floors and thick smoke filled the entire house, but 59-year-old Barry Peterson called out that he was trapped and couldn't find his keys.

"Once he said that, I started kicking his door down, I went in the house, he was lying on the floor, and I grabbed him," Gamble said.

Gamble brought Peterson to safety across the street.

Peterson was suffering from smoke inhalation and was rushed to the hospital.

He had no working smoke detectors in his house, but the family next door did, and the alarm saved their lives.

"When I went in the hallway, I opened up a cupboard where the food was at, and I saw smoke coming through, and I said we got to get out. I got my family out and everybody else," Kenneth Williams said.

They lost their home, but they have each other alive and well.

Peterson's daughters and son-in-law came by to inspect the damage and contemplate what might have been if Calvin Gamble hadn't come along.

They say they're extremely grateful that he was brave enough to do what he did.

He says he's not really a hero.

"I think I did what anybody would do if somebody's in trouble," Gamble said.

Peterson is hospitalized in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.

Investigators say it appears the fire was started by untended candles.

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