A Carson City grandfather is being hailed as a hero by witnesses after he saved his 4-year-old grandson from a fire that raced through the family's Brown Street townhouse Wednesday night.
"He was the last one out," neighbor Dennis Teran said of the man he knows as Jim. Teran said he saw Jim lower the child from the second story window to family members below while fire raged around him. "There were flames behind him and he was making sure that boy was OK."
After the child was safe, the grandfather jumped out of the window, landing on a motorcycle in the yard and possibly breaking his arm. He, along with two other family members were taken to Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center by ambulance with unspecified injuries.
Firefighters were called to the Brown Street Apartments in east Carson City about 6:11 p.m., said Battalion Chief Dan Shirey. When they arrived, the end townhouse of an eight-unit complex was ablaze. Heather Holt, her husband Jeremy and 5-year-old daughter Makeyla were home in their unit when Holt heard people run down the stairs next door yelling for someone to call 911.
She said she looked outside and saw fire shooting out the upstairs windows. She and her family left so quickly, Holt carried with her the cordless phone and Jeremy still had the television remote in his hand an hour later as he watched fire crews work.
"It was so fast, within a minute there were flames everywhere," she said.
"I saw orange, then I cried, then I wanted my grandma," said Makeyla.
Shirey said firewalls built between the units kept the flames to the one townhome that was gutted, but firefighters were forced to tear down the ceilings in Holt's townhome and another to her north to make sure the fire hadn't gone into the attic.
The flames were so hot, they singed the roof shingles and broke a window on a home across the driveway from the complex's parking lot. Shirey said five engines from Carson City and two from East Fork were called to the blaze.
The cause is under investigation. Teran, who ran to the rear of the complex after Jim's son alerted him to the fire, said he couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"Grandpa had the kid hanging out the window and I could see the flames behind him," he said. "It was like something out of a movie.