Neighbors help save man from burning home

Published: Monday, Dec. 17 2012 11:25 p.m. MST

WEST JORDAN — Neighbors helped save a man's life Monday night when his family's home caught fire.

West Jordan Fire Battalion Chief Clint Peterson said the fire began in a bedroom of a home at 5131 W. Cobble Creek Drive. Two people were in the home at the time, a 14-year-old boy and his 27-year-old brother, who is severely handicapped and requires a wheelchair.

The boy was doing his homework while his brother slept. As the smoke alarms began to sound, he called his father, then raced to check on his brother and discovered smoke pouring out of a room next to the 27-year-old's bedroom, Peterson said.

The boy closed the door on the fire and ran outside, calling on neighbors to help rescue his brother.

Daniel Jaterka and his son, Chris, arrived to find smoke and flames pouring out of windows and the front door. Chris Jaterka used a rock to break through the window to the man's room, then assisted his father and a passerby who stopped to help in carrying the 27-year-old man through the window.

"I had no idea how bad it was," Chris Jaterka said. "There were flames shooting out. It took all three of us to get him out."

He said if the young boy hadn't closed the door to contain the fire, he's not sure they would have gotten his brother out in time.

Peterson said the rescue came just in time. The man was taken to Jordan Valley Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation but was otherwise unharmed.

The fire caused more than $100,000 in damage and rendered the home inhabitable, Peterson said. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

McKenzie Romero

Twitter: @McKenzieRomero

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