Tré Jones and Marcus Harvey saved a Marion man from a house filled with fire and smoke Sunday, putting the stranger’s safety above theirs as they sprung into action while a crowd gathered outside waiting for firefighters to arrive.
Jones and Harvey said instincts took over when they heard a man crying for help from inside the home at 3021 S. Adams St., which had flames and smoke streaming out of it around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, June 21.
Brandon Eckstein, a fire marshal for Marion Fire Department (MFD), said multiple witnesses confirmed Jones’ and Harvey’s story, and MFD Chief Paul David announced Wednesday that his department is prepared to award the brothers for their quick thinking and selflessness.
Jones said he smelled what he believed to be a house fire as him and his brother, Harvey, were on the way back from making an errand nearby. When they arrived at the scene, Jones said he was prepared to break out the window before Harvey told him not to since it sounded like the man was near the window.
“I kicked the door in and fire, smoke and all types of stuff blew out the house because the fire was so bad,” Jones recalled. “It pushed me because there was so much pressure inside the house when I kicked the door in. It like forced me away from the door. I took my shirt off. Now I’ve got the door open, so I could hear him moaning and groaning a little more louder. I told him, ‘Hold on. Here I come. Keep talking, keep talking, keep talking.”
Harvey said he hesitated for a split second before he went in because he said the roof looked like it was melting and the visibility was poor.
‘As he’s talking, I’m in the house and I can’t see nothing,” Jones said. “It’s pitch black in the house. I can’t see with all the smoke. So as I’m walking, I ended up kicking him with my foot, so I rubbed and realized it was him. I felt like he was sweaty, so I tried to pick him up by his chest and my hand had slipped off.”
That’s when Jones said Harvey helped him to fully drag the man out of the home. Both men grabbed an arm and took the victim by his belt to pull him to safety.
“Man it was crazy. After the fact, when they sprayed the house down, I got to go in there and he as stuck in between a table and a couch,” Jones said. “I had pushed the table over to get him out, but at the time when I had pushed the table over, the table was on fire. I didn’t even realize that the table was on fire until I saw how bad it was burnt up. It was crazy.”
Jones said he’s had flashbacks about the fire since it happened.
Every day, I think about it. I can’t believe I did that,” he said. “It’s shocking to me too. It was just a reaction. I just had to get him out.”
He said he would have been upset with himself if he hadn’t jumped into action.
Harvey said it’s hard to remember what exactly was going through their minds.
“We really didn’t know. We were really just thinking about getting that man out of the house and getting us out of there. We’ve got kids, so we were trying to make sure we were all going to be safe,” Harvey said. “We never leave a man behind.”
Both men said they had a message they wanted the entire community to know.
“I want to say, all lives matter. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” Jones said.
“That’s our main message right now,” Harvey chimed in. “I hope this all goes to peace.”
Eckstein said Wednesday that the man suffered first- and third-degree burns over 34 percent of his body and is currently in a medically-induced coma “at this point and time.” He was taken to Marion General Hospital before being flown to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.
Fire investigators said the cause of the fire was ruled accidental.
“It is our belief that he was cooking and laid down on the couch and fell asleep,” Eckstein said. “Then the grease in the pan on the stove ignited, causing the rest of the house to go up in flames.”
Eckstein said he could not release the victim’s name due to medical privacy laws.
He said the man did not have a working smoke detector in the home at the time of the fire. Ecksetein said it’s important that people install smoke detectors in their homes, especially near their bedrooms.
The home was insured, Eckstein says, and the damage was estimated at about $30,000.
Eckstein commended the men for their actions that helped save a man’s life.
“I don’t know why I did it, but I’m glad I did it because he’s still alive,” Jones said.