An accidental house fire on the city’s east side sends three people to the hospital, including a little boy.  They all made it out of the house safely, thanks to the efforts of a passerby. 

A 70-year-old Erie woman on oxygen suffers only smoke inhalation after she drops her lit cigarette on her oxygen line.  If that’s not lucky enough, she makes it out of the home safely only after a passerby responds to her daughter’s cry for help.    

Mary Winters and Jeremy Clear were walking in the 600 block of Wallace Street when they heard a woman scream.  Winters tells us, “a lady came out with her son yelling, ‘Help me! Help! I can’t get her down the stairs!’ and I could see smoke coming out.” 

That’s when Jeremy took action.  He tells us, “I ran into the house as fast I as I could to see who all was in there”.  He found one woman at the top of the stairs.  “So, I ran up there the smoke was black, she was passed out on the ground, almost, so I got her out and got her down the steps”.

Erie firefighters and EmergyCare quickly arrived on scene, taking two women and a little boy to the hospital for smoke inhalation.  

Deputy Chief Mike Fahey says, “the fire itself was in the second floor, rear bedroom and the guys were able to get up there pretty quick and knock it down”.

Winters says, “you could smell it like something was burning, then it just got bad after we got everyone out”.

While adrenaline sometimes kicks in during an emergency, firefighters say they understand the need to help, but it’s best to wait for first responders.  Fahey warns, “it’s very quick, you can become a victim, yourself, with smoke conditions like that.  It doesn’t take long to be overcome by smoke, so I caution people.  I know where their hearts are at but I would caution people not to do that”.

Clear says he just ran into the smoke without hesitation, just glad he could make a difference.  “It was really thick and it was kind of hard to breathe but other than that, everything is good and everyone was safe.”

Fire inspectors quickly determined smoking with an oxygen tank to be the cause, something that fire officials warn against.