Neighbor's Quick Thinking and Late Morning Credited for Saving Lives
CLARKSTON, WA —
Around 9:30 Tuesday morning, fire crews from Clarkston, Lewiston, and Asotin County were dispatched to a house fire on Clarkston's Perry Lane.
While the cause is still undetermined, it appears the fire started in the carport of the home where four people were living.
Initial reports were that people were still inside when the fire started, prompting an automatic aid response.
Asotin County Fire Chief Noel Hardin says, "When we arrived all occupants had gotten out of the house." Chief Hardin says that's thanks to a neighbor's quick thinking.
"I was just getting my shoes on to give a friend a ride to work and I heard like a thunder sound, a rumbling," Tony Feldman says.
Feldman was staying with his girlfriend next door when he heard the noise. He followed the sound to the back door and saw the plume of smoke and flames climbing to the roof.
He immediately ran to the neighbors' double-wide and, "Started banging on the windows and the back door, tried kicking the back door in to get them out."
Feldman helped the occupants, one of whom was asleep in a bedroom that was rapidly catching fire, to escape. Family members say a woman living here just had knee surgery; Tony helped her over the fence and to an ambulance. He credits time in the National Guard with his level-headed instinct, "Just reaction, instinct. Like get everybody out of the house. Yeah, most people probably would've panicked."
He can also thank his love for sleeping in. He was running late that morning. He should've already been on the road when he discovered the fire.
When asked about being a hero so early in the morning, Feldman says it feels, "Just like any other day, really." It may feel like any other day to him, but for the ones he saved, another day now means everything.
"Lives, you can't replace lives. You can replace a house," Feldman says.