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Two men credited with saving elderly couple from Creswell house fire

The family and fire officials said if the men hadn't jumped into action, the couple likely would've died.

Posted: Dec. 4, 2018 11:08 PM
Updated: Dec. 4, 2018 11:15 PM

CRESWELL, Ore. -- Two men that happened to be near a Creswell home just after it caught fire on Monday afternoon are being called heroes by the family of the couple they saved.

Mathew Wildman is a local painter, who was heading back to the house he was painting in Creswell when he saw a large, black plume of smoke.

He said he drove in the direction of the smoke, and that's when he saw the house burning.

Wildman took some pictures of the fire, then started recording a video. Shortly after he started recording, he heard a man that was trying to help calling for more help, and Wildman realized the people that owned the home were trapped inside.

"He was actually the first in there," Wildman said. "I pulled up and I heard a scream for help, so I just ran in there, and the couple were inside next to the fire, actually."

The first man that was there to help was only identified as a CenturyLink employee named Devin.

Wildman said the husband was in a wheelchair, but didn't want to leave his wife.

She had fallen, and because of her age and weight couldn't get herself out of the home.

"He did not want to leave her behind," Wildman said. "So, when we went in, he knew that we could get his wife out. So, he then proceeded to wheel himself out."

Once they were able to get that man outside of the house, the two men had to go back in through this door while the fire was still going, duck down to get below the smoke, and attempt to take his wife out as well.

Andy Halvorson grew up with the couple's children, and was there when Wildman and the other man went back inside.

"So, they actually drug her out to get her out, while they were ducking beneath the smoke," Halvorson said. "It was just kind of a crazy, crazy few minutes."

After saving the couple's lives, Wildman said he doesn't consider himself a hero.

"I really don't consider myself a hero," Wildman said. "Just, when you get put in that position, you just have to do it."

Halvorson said he and the couple's family think he is.

He said he hopes more people step up when they're called on to help others, like these two men did.

"Very thankful. Very thankful for Mat and Devin, or any person that goes out of the norm to go the extra mile to help anybody," Halvorson said. "Whether it's helping somebody with a refrigerator or pulling them out, you know. If you don't help your neighbor, who will you help?"

The family believes the fire was started by a heat lamp on the back porch that got knocked over, possibly by an animal.

Fire officials said the home is likely a total loss.

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