What started off as a typical day for Marshall Helm of Salem, Illinois, turned into a do-or-die situation in a hurry.
The 70-year-old Air Force veteran is battling cancer, but he still gets up every morning and walks his granddaughter to the bus stop for school. Recently, as he was dropping her off, he noticed the driver calling out to him.
The driver was shouting “fire” and pointing to a neighbor’s house. Marshall looked over and saw flames coming from the garage that were rapidly climbing up the side of the home. Without thinking, he dashed to the side door and ran into the burning building.
Inside, Gary and Kathy Benjamin were sleeping in an upstairs bedroom. Marshall had never been inside their house, so he ran from room to room yelling “fire” until the couple woke up. Then, Marshall tried to lead them to the doorway where he’d entered, but it had already been engulfed.
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“All I saw was flames coming through the wall,” Gary said. Kathy added, “Oh my God, I didn’t know what was happening.”
Together, they ran for the back door and got out just moments before the whole house went up in flames.
Gary and Kathy breathed in a lot of smoke, but they are otherwise unharmed. Unfortunately, they lost everything they own, but it’s a small price to pay considering how this story would have ended without Marshall’s help.
“Hero, he’s our angel,” Kathy said. Gary agreed: “Lifesaver, lifesaver is all I can say.”
As for Marshall, he said he didn’t hesitate before running into the house because it was just second nature. We agree with Kathy and Gary wholeheartedly — he’s a hero through and through!
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