Man With Asthma Rescues Neighbor During Fire

The fire happened around 6:15 a.m. Saturday on the 2000 block of Anchor Street inside a second floor bedroom.

By Danielle Johnson, Katy Zachry and David Chang
|  Sunday, Jan 27, 2013  |  Updated 10:25 AM EDT
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A Philadelphia man continues to fight for his life while his wife is alive thanks to the quick actions of their neighbor.

NBC10Philadelphia - Katy Zachry

A Philadelphia man continues to fight for his life while his wife is alive thanks to the quick actions of their neighbor.

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A Northeast Philadelphia man is being called a hero after rescuing his neighbor during a house fire in spite of the fact that he suffers from asthma.

The fire happened around 6:15 a.m. Saturday on the 2000 block of Anchor Street inside a second floor bedroom. William Martinez, who lives next door to the home, tells NBC10 he heard screams coming from the house. Martinez ran outside, saw the fire and managed to kick down the door, bringing Marie Mattis to safety. The woman's husband, 63-year-old Walter Mattis - an amputee - was trapped inside his bed however.

"I told him to roll over and that I'd try to grab him," said Martinez. "But he was screaming that he couldn't."

Martinez, an asthmatic, says he yelled for his wife to get Mattis a wet blanket so he could breathe. He then tried to go back into the room but fire stood between him and Mattis. Fortunately firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after, carried Mattis out and controlled the blaze.

"It's something that's going to be in my memory for a long time," said Martinez. "It's something that hopefully no one will have to see. It was a really bad situation. I was at the right place at the right time. Regardless of who it is, if I need to risk my life to save someone I'm willing to do it."

The victim was airlifted to Temple University Hospital with burns on 30 percent of his body. He also suffered smoke inhalation and is currently in critical condition. While the firefighter department tells NBC10 the cause of the fire is under investigation, Martinez claims the Fire Marshal who was at the scene told him it started from a cigarette.

 


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