Acts of Kindness
Off duty-firefighter rushes into elderly neighbor’s home to save him from fire
When an off-duty firefighter named Chris went outside to check on his 95-year-old neighbor, he was met with a heart-pounding sight.
Jessica
05.11.22

Some people put their lives on the line for others without a second thought – it’s just how they’re built.

Petersburg, Virginia firefighter Chris Lawrence is one of those people. That’s what makes him such as good firefighter – and a good neighbor!

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Facebook - WTVR CBS 6 News

Helping out a neighbor

Lawrence wasn’t even on duty on the night of his heroics in Prince George County.

It all started when he helped out an elderly neighbor earlier in the evening.

“I helped him get in the bed and get him in the house. I told him I’d come back around… and check on him to make sure he was still sleep or still in bed,” Lawrence told WTVR News.

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Facebook - WTVR CBS 6 News

But 30 minutes later, his neighbor needed a bigger assist.

Something’s amiss

Lawrence headed out to check on the neighbor and saw something that made him leap into action. His neighbor’s blinds were missing.

But that wasn’t all. The kitchen was on fire.

“I took a few steps towards the house and that’s when I noticed the plastic blinds had fallen inside the kitchen — and the kitchen was on fire at that point,” Lawrence said.

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Facebook - WTVR CBS 6 News

So the firefighter did what first responders are trained to do – he rushed towards the danger.

Lucky to be alive

But the off-duty firefighter had no gear. Even so, he rushed in to save his elderly neighbor knowing that the man was in his 90s and unlikely to get out on his own.

“It never crossed my mind not to go in, maybe it should of, but it didn’t. I knew he was in there,” he said. “I do remember it was a ton of smoke, it was hot, but we were down as low as I could go, we came down the porch and went to the front yard.”

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Facebook - WTVR CBS 6 News

Lawrence arrived just in time – and yet a bit too late. The man was already burned, but he was still alive.

The firefighter held him on the front lawn to comfort him until the Prince George Fire and EMS crews could arrive on the scene.

Knowledge and instinct

While his actions were heroic, Lawrence doesn’t necessarily recommend that you try this at home. He is trained in rescuing people from fires, after all.

“I hope nobody ever has to do it, but I hope you have some knowledge and some instinct to pull back on,” he explained. “Because that’s the only thing that saved us, I can tell ya.”

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Facebook - WTVR CBS 6 News

His lack of gear means he didn’t get out unscathed either. He was rushed to an area hospital while his neighbor was rushed to VCU Medical Center for burn treatment.

The last update on the heroic attempt came from Lawrence’s local news interview:

“I talked to the burn unit this afternoon and he is in stable condition, so that was good news for us,” he said.

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Facebook - Petersburg Enging 2 & Trusk 1

Acknowledging a hero

Aside from the kudos he received on behalf of thankful citizens everywhere, Captain Chris Lawrence also won the National Grand Prize Winner of the First Responders Caring Award.

Captain Chris Lawrence of the Petersburg Fire Department is the National Grand Prize Winner of the First Responders Caring Award
Courtesy: Chief Miller

Posted by Petersburg Solution on Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Certainly a well-deserved honor for a man who put his life on the line to save a neighbor.

Be sure to scroll down below to hear from the heroic firefighter himself and see scenes from the near tragedy.

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By Jessica
hi@sbly.com
Jessica is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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