STOCKTON (CBS13) — A maintenance worker at a Stockton home care facility is being hailed a hero for rescuing nine people from the burning building.
Regina Higgins credits Clarence Calhoun for saving her life.
“He just grabbed us and got us out and to just go,” said Higgins.
Calhoun works as a maintenance worker at the Sonora House, a home care facility for about ten people, all over the age of 60.
“Some are in wheelchairs, walkers, some can’t walk,” said Calhoun.
As soon as flames broke out in the garage around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Calhoun said, he “thought about the clients.” The home filled up with smoke; prompting Calhoun to jump into action.
“I was picking everyone up. The ones close to the door I guided them out and then ran back into the house,” he added.
He said he went door-to-door to get everyone out of bed and out of the house.
“He’s just a really great guy. God put him in the right place at the right time,” said Judy Sanchez, whose brother lives at the facility.
Sanchez said Calhoun picked up and carried her nearly 400-pound brother who uses a wheelchair out of the burning building.
“I just can’t believe it. I’m getting tearful. It still hasn’t hit me yet,” she said.
He then made at least three more trips inside to get the others, including a 91-year-old.
“I had to run back in and get the two older ladies out. They were asleep so I had to grab them,” said Calhoun.
Some of their belongings including a brand new washer and dryer, sofa, chair and entertainment center were destroyed by the blaze, but all ten people made it out alive.
“Thank god it happened that way and we didn’t have to worry about it because Clarence was there,” said Higgins.
Some of the tenants said they still haven’t had a chance to express how grateful they are for Calhoun saving their lives.
“I’m anxious to get to him really and thank him for it,” said Higgins. “Nobody had the chance really because it happened so fast.”
Firefighters still don’t know what caused the fire. The American Red Cross is assisting those displaced with a temporary place to stay. As for Calhoun, he lost his cell phone and keys to his work truck in the fire, but some of the tenants are working to help him replace those items.