Two men rescue 9 people from burning home

Two men rescue 9 people from burning home
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis father and his roommate ran into a burning home to rescue several children trapped by the flames. Thanks to their efforts, 11 people made it out alive.

Firefighters were called to a home in the 3000 block of Green Avenue around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. Four adults--two men, two women, and seven children--were asleep inside the home when the fire started.

A neighbor says Johnny Bates, the father five of the children, ran into the burning house at least three times to help save other family members.

"Then all of a sudden, a lot of black smoke started coming through," Bates said.

When Bates couldn't go in again, his roommate, Edward Walker, ran in to rescue the rest of the kids inside.

"So, I grabbed the first two and I had my stepson to grab the other one," Walker added.

Two firefighters injured their ankles; both of them were treated on the scene and released. Walker received burns to his head when he ran in to help.

According to MFD Lt. Wayne Cooke, the cause of the fire was electrical. About $40,000 worth of damage was done to the house, which did not have a working smoke detector.

Todd Garten, Vice President of Dufresne Spencer Group, which operates Ashley Home Furniture HomeStores in Memphis, learned about the heroic rescues and plans to help the family by giving them new beds. It's all part of the company's "Hope To Dream" program.

American Red cross is also helping the family.

Bates and Walker say they feel blessed by the outpouring of support.

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