San Bernardino man helps evacuate apartment complex from fire

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Instead of running out of his burning apartment building to save his own life, a San Bernardino man raced door-to-door to try and help everyone else escape.

Instead of running out of his burning apartment building to save his own life, a San Bernardino man raced door-to-door to try and help everyone else escape.

The scene, captured on cellphone video by Erica Lopez, showed the fire rip through the River Glen Apartments in San Bernardino around 3 a.m. on Friday.

The fire started in unit 37 and next door, 77-year-old Frank Duncan was asleep.

Duncan said he feared he was not going to make it out alive, but he did using a handrail to guide him through thick, black smoke.

Duncan credits his narrow escape to the breaking of one of his windows.

"I just heard a window, bam! 'Get up! Get out! There is a fire!'" he said.

The voice he heard belongs to his neighbor, Chris Butler. The 20-year-old was transported after he injured his arm breaking the window.

Eyewitness News caught up with him shortly after he returned home from the hospital.

"I could see the flames billowing out of the apartment, and I just started yelling 'fire,' banging on doors to get everyone out," he said.

Amy Hernandez was also jolted out of her sleep for the second time that morning. The first by the 5.2-magnitude earthquake and then by the yelling.

"There was a guy running through afterwards banging on windows, making sure everybody was up and out," she said.

Hernandez got out and locked the door behind her. The door was later kicked in as police and firefighters went to each unit to make sure everyone evacuated.

Neighbors called Butler a hero for doing his part to get people out before firefighters arrived.

In a town that could use a few heroes, Bulter was reluctant to accept all the credit.

"It was a group effort," he said. "There was at least 10 of us running around, banging on doors trying to make sure the elderly and children got out safely."

Police said the fire was under investigation.
Related Topics:
newsapartment firefireheroSan BernardinoSan Bernardino County
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