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Neighbors' aid limits toll from Sunday house fire in Longview

From Staff Reports
Nov. 20, 2011 at 10 p.m.

A Sunday morning house fire could have been deadly if not for the response of neighbors.

Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary said firefighters were called at 8:04 a.m. Sunday to a house fire at 307 Marion Drive in south central Longview. When firefighters arrived, they found the front of the home engulfed in flames.

They also found neighbors consoling the house's six residents in the front lawn, including one neighbor who pulled a wheelchair-bound elderly woman to safety.

Zackary said neighbor Jerriel Dixon ran across the street and pulled the woman's chair down the front steps. A young boy who escaped the fire alerted Dixon because he could not pull the woman's chair.

"There were no injuries, civilian or firefighter," Zackary. "They narrowly escaped, though."

Zackary said it appears the fire started in the kitchen near the stove, which resulted in heavy smoke near the doorway where the woman was sitting.

The American Red Cross is assisting the family of three adults and three children, who lost all of their belongings to smoke, fire or heat damage, the fire marshal said.

The family also is getting help from an usual source.

"What is rare is the landlord of the place is actually stepping up to help them," Zackary said of the property owner, Longview-based AA Oasis.

"The landlord has told the tenants that he will help them financially through the month or get them a hotel room."

He added that the family has been set up with a local hotel room until Dec. 1.

The fire marshal said seeing Dixon's actions, coupled with those of neighbors who consoled the family and children, was "a very positive thing with neighbors stepping in during these tragic times."



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