Neighbor pulls elderly man from burning apartment


OROVILLE, Calif. - Neighbors rushed to rescue a man from his burning apartment in Oroville, but not before he suffered major burns. The fire was reported just after 9 a.m. at Oro Villa Apartments at 2733 Mitchell Avenue. A neighbor Dale Stoner-Carson said he heard a commotion nearby and children yelling "fire." Stoner-Carson and two other neighbors went to unit 3 where a fire was burning in a bedroom. Stoner-Carson said the bed was on fire. He said a man in his 70's was standing near the window, but couldn't get out. A neighbor, Kevin Phillips, was one of the men who came to the rescue. He opened the bedroom window and pulled the man outside.

Moments after the victim was pulled into the bushes outside, a witness said a burst of flames came shooting out the window, possibly from an oxygen tank that may have exploded inside.

Oroville Fire Battalion Chief David Hilson said investigators were trying to determine the cause of the blaze, and if smoking or the oxygen tank contributed to the fire. The victim was badly burned. He was taken by helicopter to U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.