Man runs into burning Berkeley apartment building to save neighbor

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- A man ran into a burning apartment building in Berkeley, and his quick actions may have saved someone's life.

One man was critically burned in the fire, but it could have been worse if it weren't for the actions of one brave neighbor.

"I felt like I had to get in there and help someone, so I did," resident Alex Present said.

The fire started around 7:15 p.m. and sent thick dark cloud of smoke over the city.

Kathryn Tippett shared video of the flames pouring out of a third story unit.

Inside that burning apartment was a man lying on the floor and yelling out for help.

Present lives in the building next door saw the smoke and knew he had to do something.

He ran into that burning building and helped the man get outside, before rescuers got there.

"I started yelling to him get up get out get out and finally he kind of snapped out of it and came to. I said 'don't worry about your stuff, just get up and get out.' His hands were all burned. I felt like I had to get in there and help someone, so I did," Present said.

The victim was taken to highland hospital to be treated for those burns. At one point all 27 units were evacuated because of that fire.

"I looked out my window and saw flames shooting out and heard a big knock on my door and five firefighters told me to get out of my complex," evacuee Liz Sale said.

"There was just a ton of smoke billowing out at the time, even from university you could see the smoke, just very like, it was dark, black smoke," Berkeley resident Xander Luciano said.

Most of the residents were back in their apartments Sunday night.

Two units are damaged; one has extensive fire damage, and the other water damage. The Red Cross is helping those residents who were displaced.
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