Six Rutgers University-Camden students saved the life of a 90-year-old man late Friday evening after a fire broke out in his duplex.
Tammy Meneses and Vanessa Solis-Palma were heading home from a friend’s apartment near campus when they noticed the smell of smoke. Then they saw flames erupting from a window of a duplex a block away.
Meneses, 22, immediately called the four friends she and Solis-Palma were just with and all six students ran toward the three story duplex. The students screamed, rattled fences and desperately banged on windows.
“I wasn’t really thinking. I just broke the front door glass,” Matteo Resanovic told Philly.com. He unlocked the door from the inside and ran upstairs toward the fire.
Resanovic and another student managed to awaken a 90-year-old man on the second floor and walk him down the stairs to safety.
Once outside, the man asked if his son was still inside.
“I went in one more time after he asked me to look for his son,” Resanovic said. “I went to the third floor and saw the room was just engulfed. I yelled a couple of times and didn’t hear anything. I thought it would be better not to open that door.”
Firefighters arrived and had the blaze under control within 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, the man’s 62-year-old son did not make it out and was found in a back bedroom on the third floor, according to Camden City officials. The elderly man’s wife was not home at the time of the fire.
“I think it was really amazing that they considered the community and other people and their safety over themselves,” Mary Beth Daisey, vice chancellor of student affairs at Rutgers-Camden, said Saturday.