A disoriented man in his 60s was trapped on his balcony as flames ripped through his one-bedroom apartment.
"We tried to help him to come out, but he kept going back again to inside," said Joanne Escalambre, an apartment resident.
"Then he fell back into the fire. He had burns on his back and shoulders. So he was burning up in there," said Vallejo Fire Capt. Kevin Hickey.
That's when Hickey ran up the ladder and into the black smoke and flames.
"I could hear the firefighter, [Hickey], yelling at the victim to let go," said Vallejo Batt. Chief David Urrutia.
"Yeah, it was dead weight. He was grabbing on to something, then I got his hands free and picked him up, but I definitely needed help with somebody on the ladder to pass him off to," said Hickey.
Urrutia usually lets the younger guys do the heavy lifting, but he was the only one on hand. In fact, Escalambre and two other neighbors had to steady the ladder.
"I wouldn't have wanted to fall from the second story carrying someone down the ladder," said Urrutia.
The elderly man had second degree burns, but he's alive.