Man uses shovel to save neighbor from house fire

Credit: Rad Berky

Man uses shovel to save neighbor from house fire


by RAD BERKY / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @RadBerkywcnc

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 5:05 PM

ROCK HILL, S.C. – One home was destroyed and one person was rescued from a Wednesday morning house fire in Rock Hill.

The fire erupted at the home at 615 Montgomery Drive around 2:30 a.m.

Neighbor Matt Pursley rescued one of the four occupants at the house, according to officials.  The person rescued was flown to Carolinas Medical Center, while three others were taken to Piedmont Medical Center—each suffering from smoke inhalation.

Pursley, 26, said he and his wife were awakened around 2:30 in the morning by Jessica Moore and her 3-year-old. They lived in the house that caught fire along with Moore's father and mother-in-law.

“I asked her is there anybody else in the house and she said, ‘Yes, my daddy is still there,’” said Pursley.

Pursley ran to the burning house and first tried the front door.

“Opened the front door and flames are coming out too much, so I can’t go in,” he recalled.

Everyone else in the house was out but the father was trapped in a ground-floor bedroom.

Pursley got his wife to bring him a shovel from their garage and he smashed through the top panes of glass first to let smoke out of the bedroom. Then he broke the bottom glass, but cut open his arm.

“He’s trying to figure out where the guy is and so he says for me to get a flash light,” said his wife, Lesslie.

Pursley then took the shovel and through the window, poked around the bedroom.

“I felt him and I told him, ‘grab the shovel,’ and he started walking a little towards me,” said Pursley.

Finally the man was close enough to the window.

“What I did was I grabbed him and bear-hugged him and he comes out the window and I carried him to the road,” he said.

Pursley never thought he’d be called upon to save a life, but now having done it, he said he doesn’t think of himself as a hero.

“Not at all,” he said. “Just a normal guy. Just saw somebody was in need and I wanted to help out, so I’d do it again.”

The estimated loss of the home and property was $75,000. A vehicle in the driveway was also damaged, but no other homes were affected.

It’s unclear what caused the fire, and an investigation is ongoing.