Neighbors’ bravery helps Indy family of 5 escape house fire alive

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis family sees their home go up in flames and barely escapes with their lives.

Five people were inside when the fire broke out Thursday afternoon on Udell street on the city’s near northwest side.

The front of the house was charred black and destroyed, but the 5 people inside escaped with only minor injuries thanks to some brave and quick thinking neighbors.

“I heard someone hollering through the side for help. The whole front of the house was ablaze.  I took a 55 gallon drum and busted side window and went in there after him,” said neighbor Joe Mobley.

After climbing in the side window, Mobley found a paralyzed man strapped to a hospital style bed, unable to escape on his own.

“I unstrapped him from the bed and handed him out the window and then I dove out,” said Mobley.

Fire crews confirm Joe’s story and had him checked out for smoke inhalation.

The man he pushed out the window did suffer some cuts and had to be taken to the hospital, but it could have been a lot worse.

“The fire was right there.  I could see it.  I could feel the heat off it,” said Mobley.

Firefighters say at the same time another person laid down a mattress in the back yard.  That allowed a 60-year-old woman to jump off the back porch to safety.

“People came from all over to help out. We had one person enter the house.  One went around the back.  A great effort on everyone’s part to make sure everyone got out,” said Rita Reith with the Indianapolis Fire Department.

Fire crews don’t ever recommend citizens run into a burning building, but in this case that bravery may have saved a life.

For now the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Mobley knows he risked his own life to save a stranger but says he would do it again.

“I wanted to get him out.  I could not just wait for someone to do something. I wanted to take action,” said Mobley. “Nobody was doing anything so I had to do something.  It was seconds away from when fire reached him because it was right there.”

Firefighters think the fire started on the front porch but the cause remains unclear.

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