Deputies credited for saving Oak City man’s life during house fire

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 12:23 PM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2022 at 2:49 PM EDT
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OAK CITY, N.C. (WITN) - Deputies in Martin County are being credited for saving a man’s life after a home caught fire.

It happened around 9:15 p.m. Saturday on South East Avenue in Oak City.

“I just think it could happen to anybody!” said neighbor Samuel Thompson.

When deputies arrived, they learned from family members that Solomon Baker was still inside. A relative was trying to get Baker out through a window that was too small.

One sergeant tried to remove the window to get the man out, while another went in through the back door, but couldn’t get to Baker because of the heavy smoke.

Deputy Justin Barr and Deputy Seymour Whitaker got inside through the kitchen and crawled nearly through the entire house to get to the bathroom.

“It’s just something that comes with the job,” said Whitaker. “We run into different things every day. We just have to be prepared to do what needs to be done. "

Once there, they guided Baker through the smoke and outside to safety, according to a news release.

“There was no way he was coming out of that small window. So, we went in the back and without thinking about it we just went in and got him,” recalled Barr.

As they were getting out of the burning home, Oak City Fire and EMS were arriving, deputies say, and firefighters were able to bring the fire under control.

“I actually used to be a volunteer firefighter so I used that thinking to make sure we got below the smoke so we were able to see and stay calm,” said Barr. “With my partner there, we had our backs. We knew how to get back out, and we knew each other would be able to help each other out.”

Baker was checked out by EMS, while the relative trying to get the man out through the window, and one of the sergeants was treated for cuts.

Now, neighbors are focused on helping Baker get back on his feet.

“I don’t know how he got it. I don’t care how he got it. All I know is, he’s a citizen of Oak City, he’s my neighbor, and I’m going to help out as much as I can,” said Thompson.

No word yet on what started the fire.

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