CLEVELAND (WJW) – Cell phone video captures a burning house on E 173rd Street in Cleveland Wednesday night.
Inside, a 59-year-old man was desperately trying to escape the flames. On the next-door football field, a semi-pro team was practicing.
“We were getting ready for our season. We were doing some work here on the track,” said team owner Randy Knight.
The team is the Cleveland Rams, a club that regularly uses Roy Kidd Field. Around 7:30 p.m., they started to smell smoke.
“Our owner Randy was like, ‘man, the house is on fire,'” said player Diontez May. “Next thing you know, we see the hand go up like he was trying to get our attention and you just see the hand collapse.”
May was one of the men who immediately started scaling the high fence separating the field from the house and started pulling the man out of the doorway.
“He was kind of conscious, but he wasn’t. You could tell he was like gasping for air.”
Cell phone video shows Diontiez and two other teammates dragging the man across the street to safety as the right side of the house is in flames.
“Later on, we found out he is a diabetic and he had low blood sugar as well, so thank God we were there to help him with both situations,” May said.
Knight called 911 while two members of his team, who happen to work for EMS and as a nurse, tended to the man.
As the flames grew larger and more erratic, the team members started getting worried that the fire could spread to a nearby neighbor’s home and went to knock on her door to get her out.
“She was asleep. It took me, I had to knock from the doors, knock on her window and then she finally came to the door so I could notify her of the situation,” said player Bijon Walker
We spoke with Denise Armstrong on the phone.
“I am so grateful and forever in debt to them and their kindness. You know, and them getting Mr. Henry out as well,” she said.
The team’s just glad they were in the right place at the right time.
“I thank us for having football practice that day. We’re glad we were able to be on the scene, to be able to give a lending hand,” said Walker.
“I just feel like it was God’s plan to put us in the right position to save somebody’s life,” said May.
When the man was taken to the hospital, EMS says he was in stable condition. Cleveland Fire says the blaze was caused by a space heater.