A 16-year-old Placentia boy crawled on his hands and knees through a flaming house Sunday morning to drag a friend's wheelchair-bound father to safety, fire and disaster officials said.
The fast-burning fire broke out at the home of Roland Winters, 43, in the 600 block of Twilight Street in Placentia at about 7:15 a.m, severely damaging 75% of the structure.
Winters, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, is confined to a wheel chair and must wear leg braces to get around, said Harry Huggins, an American Red Cross spokesman.
Carol Winters' screams awoke her 17-year-old son, Don, and two 16-year-old friends who were spending the night--Brad Hall and John Moore, both of Placentia.
When the three boys opened their bedroom door and saw flames engulfing the living area of the house, they escaped through a bedroom window, said Art York, an Orange County Fire Department spokesman.
After climbing to safety, they saw that Carol and her two daughters, 15-year-old Nancy and 6-year-old Jennifer, were safe but Roland had not escaped. The boys tried to re-enter the burning home.
"Apparently, Don was unable to get through one entrance of the house because of the heavy smoke," Huggins said. "Brad Hall re-entered the house by crawling on his hands and knees, so the smoke billowed out over him. He found the father next to the washer and dryer unit, and he literally dragged him out of the house.
"When I asked Brad how he knew to do this, he said he had learned this in a health class in school, how to exit a house on fire," Huggins said.
"He's a little bit shy about being recognized for the good deed that he did and seems to not want a lot of publicity, even though one of the radio stations (KNX) wants to make him citizen of the week."
Hall and Don and Roland Winters were treated for smoke inhalation at Placentia Linda Hospital. Moore was treated for smoke inhalation and a cut hand.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.