Quick-thinking neighbor saves man from burning Antioch apartment

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A quick-thinking neighbor came to the rescue an Antioch man trapped by smoke and flames Saturday. (KGO-TV)

An Antioch woman is being credited with saving her neighbor's life after she pulled him from his burning apartment Saturday morning.

"I look over and it's just, pheeew, like the fire's right next to me," said Samantha Barnhouse, as she described the harrowing experience.

Firefighters wear protective gear to clear the burned Antioch apartment on Peppertree Way, but moments earlier Barnhouse saved a man's life with her bare hands.

Barnhouse stepped out of her unit around 11 in the morning to take her daughter to the park. That's when she saw smoke coming from the apartment across the driveway. A female resident yelled for help and Barnhouse told her to evacuate.

"Fires roaring and everything and then she said, 'I can't' and she's crying at me she says, 'I can't my roommate is paralyzed. He won't get up. He can't get up you have to help me,'" said Barnhouse. When Barnhouse realized she was the only one who could help she ran across the driveway to the burning apartment.



Once inside Samantha darted past the flaming kitchen towards the back bedrooms. Contra Costa County Fire Protection District investigators say the fire started on the stove.

"They had a bunch of stuff over here. Some couches," recalled Barnhouse, as she walked through the now destroyed apartment to explain the rescue.

As Barnhouse reached 77-year-old Lobis Burton she grabbed the office chair he was sitting in and pulled.

"And I look back in the hallway and its black," said Barnhouse.

She put a robe over Burton's face to protect from the smoke. At that point it's so thick Barnhouse closed her eyes and moved towards the sound of a woman's voice.

"For her it was absolutely incredibly dangerous, without her the victim wouldn't have been alive potentially," said Billy Small, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

The chair caught on the table, but Samantha yanked it and the two fell out the front door. Two police officers had made it up to the landing and firefighters were arriving on scene.

"The fire was blowing out of pretty much out of all of the front windows as well as that front door," said Small.

Burton re-injured his hip during the rescue. His son says he underwent surgery tonight, but is doing well.

"I'm just happy that he's still alive and that he's not hurt from the fire," said Lobiss Parks, who thanked and hugged Barnhouse repeatedly.

The heroics are not lost on Samantha's husband of ten years.

"Oh, I'm amazed by her. She is the most amazing person in the world," said Travis Barnhouse.
Related Topics:
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