EAST WENATCHEE – Charlie Breshears is nursing a bruised foot and a singed arm this week after kicking in a door to rescue two neighbors from their burning house.
Breshears said he was in bed just before midnight last Friday when a friend staying at his home yelled that a house was on fire.
“I thought he meant our house,” Breshears said Monday.
When he realized it was the house across the street on Vista del Ray Drive, he ran out the door in shorts – with no shoes or shirt – to see if he could help.
Someone in his house called 911, then handed the phone to Breshears as he was running to the burning house. Breshears said he banged on the house’s front door, which he described as feeling hot. When he got no answer, he kicked in the door with his bare foot, he said, adding that it took two tries to break through.
“I ran in and just started yelling,” he said. “There was smoke up to my belly button and fire coming into the dining room from the back porch. It was pretty bad in there.”
He said he did not know where the bedrooms in the house might be, so he just stood in the hallway and yelled. The home’s two occupants came into the hallway, each holding a dog.
He repeatedly tried to coax them to leave.
“They didn’t want to leave; they really wanted to find their other dog,” he said.
Breshears said he guided the two women out the front door and was telling the dispatcher that everyone was out when one of the women went back inside the home looking for the dog.
“I’m going in after the other one,” Breshears told the dispatcher, who told him not to put himself in danger.
He said he ran back inside anyway and found the woman standing in the burning dining room, “where most of the flames were. … It was intense, intense heat in there.”
On the 911 recording, Breshears and the woman could be heard coughing, along with what sounded like the sizzling of fire
“I pulled her toward the door and a big piece of the ceiling fell and hit pretty close to where she was standing,” he said in an interview.
They left the house again, and Breshears propped the door open. He and the women could be heard on the 911 recording calling for the dog. Eventually, the dog came out the front door on its own.
In an interview Monday, Breshears said, “It was one of those things that you just do. I knew that there were two innocent people in there who needed to get out.”
The Marine Corps veteran said it wasn’t the first time he’s helped someone in an emergency. Several years ago, he said, he was driving a dump truck near Bremerton when he saw a distressed pregnant woman standing near a car on the side of the road. He ended up delivering the woman’s baby before medical aid arrived, he said.
“God has put me in the right places to do these things,” he said.