Stephen Ellison

Vallejo Man Called a Hero For Saving 94-Year-Old Woman From Burning Home

Fire officials and neighbors are calling a Vallejo man a hero after he rushed into a burning home Tuesday morning to rescue a 94-year-old woman.

Shortly after 9 a.m., firefighters responded to a detached garage fire in the 400 block of Valle Vista, according to the Vallejo Fire Department. The garage was fully involved and spreading to the living area of the home, they said.

NBC Bay Area
William MacKenzie of Vallejo talks about rescuing an elderly woman from a burning home Tuesday. (Dec. 5, 2017)

But before the first fire crews arrived, a good Samaritan, 25-year-old William MacKenzie, stopped his vehicle in the street, rushed up to the home, forced open the front door and helped the elderly woman escape the flames, fire officials said.

"I pulled up, and there were a couple of people standing in the middle of the street, kind of watching," MacKenzie said, describing the scene. "First thing I asked was.'Is there anyone in there?' A neighbor said, 'Yeah, she lives there by herself, she's older and she's just not coming to the front door.'"

MacKenzie said he knocked on the door himself and peeked in through a window before he jumped into action. He said it took three kicks and two good shoves with his shoulder to get the door open.

He called out and found the woman on the second level of the home, then escorted her to safety.

The woman suffered minor injuries after she opened a side door to the garage, and flames singed her hair, fire officials said. She refused medical treatment.

Mackenzie likely saved the woman’s life with his efforts, fire officials said.

Fire crews eventually knocked down the fire within about 10 minutes of arrival. They had to deal with a downed power line nearby as well. While the garage was a total loss, the home suffered only minor damage, fire officials said.

MacKenzie stayed at the scene and directed traffic until firefighters arrived and then went on his way to work, fire officials said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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