Good Samaritan saves elderly man from burning home

July 23, 2013

The Good Samaritan who rescued an elderly man from a house engulfed in flames in Hercules Saturday afternoon said he was only doing what he would do if it was his family in danger.

The fire, which started in the garage of the home at 2213 Lupine Road, was reported around 1:30 p.m., and firefighters could see smoke before they arrived on the scene, Battalion Chief Brian Lowry said.

The garage of the home was fully involved in flames, which had spread into the attic and living area and into the eaves and roof of the house next door when firefighters reached the scene.

An elderly resident was rescued from the home before firefighters arrived by a 29-year-old Hercules resident who saw the fire as he was driving by, Lowry said.

That man, Joseph Trapani, told KTVU Sunday that when he saw the flames, he forced himself into the home and began “screaming for people to get out.”

“I started kicking in the doors of every room,” said Trapani. “The third, last room, I got to there was an elderly man there. I grabbed him and I ran out the front of the house.”

Trapani says that they then busted through the front door and spilled onto the street, where Trapani’s brother was waiting for them.

After being brought back to his feet by his brother, Trapani says he ran back into the house to ensure that no one else was there.

When asked what was going through his head during the rescue, Trapani said “I wasn’t thinking I reacted in a way that I would want for me and my family if they were in that situation.”

After fire crews arrived, both Trapani and the elderly resident were looked over by emergency responders and determined to be uninjured, Lowry said.

Firefighters brought the fire under control after about 40 minutes, and damage was estimated at around $100,000.

Two people were displaced and were receiving temporary housing from the American Red Cross, Lowry said.

The fire's cause was still under investigation Sunday, but it was believed to have started in the engine compartment of a 1999 Honda sedan in the garage, Lowry said.

Fire engines from the Rodeo-Hercules Fire Protection District, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District and Pinole Fire Department responded to the fire.

Source: | Image: Michael Burrie/

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