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Home lost, but lives saved

April 3, 2012

Members of the Big Pine Volunteer Fire Department were called out to 994 Hill St. in Big Pine Saturday morning for a house fully engulfed by fire. A neighbor reported the fire to authorities, before breaking into the home to wake two sleeping residents, possibly saving their lives. Photos by Angie Calloway

A Big Pine resident is being hailed as a hero after noticing smoke coming from a neighbor’s house and breaking down the door to wake the sleeping occupants.
According to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, Galen and Veronica Moore, of 994 Bowers St. in Big Pine, saw black smoke rising from their neighbor’s home at 994 Hill St. Saturday morning.
“As Galen ran up to the residence he could see flames on the east side of the residence,” the press release states. “Galen attempted to open the front door but the door handle was too hot.”
He then grabbed a metal pipe nearby and hit the door handle until it broke off.
“Galen kicked in the front door and flames shot out of the house as it opened,” the press release states. “The heat was so intense Galen could only go into the entryway.”
With flames fully engulfing the kitchen and ceiling, Moore began yelling and hitting the door, walls and glass around him to wake up the residents.
It took about a minute, but the two residents, Harold and Daniel Pierce, woke up and escaped the fire.
“Those guys would have been (dead) if that guy wasn’t there,” Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Nicholson said of Moore’s efforts to rouse Harold and Daniel Pierce.
Nicholson said that by the time law enforcement and the Big Pine Volunteer Fire Department arrived at the scene, the house was fully engulfed in flames.
He went on to say that both Harold and Daniel lost all their possessions to the fire.
The first call to authorities regarding the fire came in at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. The fire burned for about two hours, with law enforcement leaving the scene at noon, as firefighters remained to ensure that no hot spots re-ignited the fire.

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