Neighbours hailed as heroes after pulling elderly man from burning Lakeshore home
WINDSOR, ONT -- Neighbours hailed as heroes after pulling elderly man from burning home in Lakeshore, Ont.
“As I approached the home there was smoke and the front door was open and smoke billowing out the door. There were flames on the one side of the house,” said Leo Munisteri.
Leo Munisteri said he was returning home from work, just before 2 a.m. on February 21 when his next door neighbour flagged him down for help, saying her house was on fire and her husband was still inside.
“I called the fire department, run over to the home. I can see flames in the one window and smoke coming out the front door."
Munisteri’s neighbour Chris Oyler says he also heard cries of help and ran over.
“The smoke was so thick you could barely see into the house. Only about a foot off the floor and the front room was glowing orange and the smoke was coming out from the eves. It was really dark, hot and smoky,” said Oyler.
“I ask Chris to hold the front door for me and I went in and kind of crawled onto the floor and went through to the kitchen and he was sitting up in the kitchen,” explained Munisteri.
Oyler said he entered the home with his eyes and mouth closed, grabbed the elderly man and pulled him to safety on the porch.
Munisteri said the homeowner was then rushed to hospital and placed on a ventilator.
“He did inhale a lot of smoke. He had to be intubated. He ended up getting pneumonia. He’s better now,” says Munisteri.
Lakeshore Deputy Fire Chief, Jason Suchiu called the actions 'heroic.'
“If it wasn’t for their heroic actions the outcome could have been different."
Suchiu said the town is recognizing Munisteri and Oyler for their efforts.
“We do a lot of training, we have protective equipment we get and they didn’t think about that and they put themselves in harms way to save their neighbour. They truly are heroes in their community."
Oyler and Munisteri said they were happy to give a family a second chance.
“It’s great. It’s nice that you can have an impact on somebody’s family and give them a second chance. That’s the most rewarding part,” said Oyler.
“It was one of those right place at the right time. Perfect storm. I pulled in. Chris was able to help me. It all worked out to the point, I’m just happy I was able to help,” said Munisteri.
The Ontario Fire Marshal attended the scene and determined the cause of the fire was electrical.
The fire first started in the basement and was deemed accidental.
The investigation is ongoing, a preliminary damage estimate is half a million dollars.
Since the fire, Oyler says neighbours have come together with donations of clothing and toiletries to help the couple.
“It’s nice to see a community rally around kind of a traumatic event. It’s great to see, it brings out the best in people even as tragic as what it is,” says Oyler.