COLUMBIA (CBS13) – A man rushed to the aid of his disabled neighbor who couldn’t smell the smoke from flames devouring his home.
The fire started in the living room just feet from Rick Vanwinkle’s bedroom.
“I don’t have a sense of smell,” he Vanwinkle.
That’s why when smoke started to fill Vanwinkle’s home, he had no idea his house was on fire.
“Not having the sense of smell, I would have died. I have no doubt about it,” he said.
Vanwinkle’s neighbor, Adam Jimenez, was helping remodel the home. After spotting flames outside, he entered the burning home.
“It was burning on top within seconds. I ran inside and had to go over tables,” Jimenez said.
As flames crept closer to Vanwinkle’s room, Jimenez woke up his neighbor and pulled him to safety.
“What can you say? He’s my hero. He saved my life,” said a tearful Vanwinkle.
“I don’t consider myself a hero. It’s more a neighbor. A lot of us on the hill are already family,” said Jimenez.
The close call brought the new neighbors together. Jimenez moved to the block just two weeks ago.
The pair hopes others will help them rebuild what the flames destroyed.
“We’d like the community to put donations, you know, if somebody has pennies, dimes, to help us fix this. Everyone needs a place to stay,” said Jimenez.
They hope to finish the repairs as soon as possible. The damage is estimated around $5,000.
The homeowner blames a wood-burning stove for causing the fire in the first place.