UPDATE | Neighbor helps save disabled veteran from house fire

Published: Apr. 18, 2019 at 9:03 PM EDT
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UPDATE 4/19/19 @ 5:42 p.m.

A man lost his home as two more houses went up in smoke near downtown Huntington. His neighbors tell WSAZ he’s a disabled veteran.

It’s a fire we first told you about Thursday night.

Eyewitnesses like Zinya Dooley can't believe what they saw.

“I was just praying, Lord, please make it out," she said.

She took video on her phone showing bright flames and even flashes from explosions involving power lines.

"I was wondering if this is a glimpse of hell. It was that intense. It was that intense. It was scary. It was a nightmare," Dooley said.

Dooley was leaving her volunteer work at the ReBUILD Community Outreach Center about a block away.

She said the brick house went up first. Just when it looked like it had died down, the vacant house next door ignited.

The next afternoon, they stand side by side on one of the city's main thoroughfares, Eighth Avenue, numbers 1215 and 1219.

Just a few feet separate the two and now it seems like they have more in common, like views of the sky through the windows.

Eyesores in a part of town that need no more and are close to Dooley’s heart.

"For this part of town, it sucks that it's like this because there's such a high volume of negativity," she said.

The fire could have had a very different ending if not for a neighbor who came to the front door. He didn’t want to be identified, but he tells us he pounded on the door, waking up the man inside who didn't even realize there was fire in the home.

The resident was struggling with the doorknob, so the neighbor kicked in the door and brought him to safety.

Neighbors tell us the resident works with the homeless.

On the left, a vacant house which was home to squatters at times.

Dooley hopes her vision of hell Thursday night turns into a piece of heaven with a new home, a green space or community garden.

"Please don't leave these buildings up,” Dooley said. “They've served their cause. They're spent. It's done."

Huntington firefighters are investigating the cause but say both homes are total losses and will be torn down.

Two firefighters had minor injuries, including a sprained ankle.

They said the resident is now staying with family or friends.


Huntington Fire crews are battling a house fire Thursday night in the 1200 block of 8th Avenue, our crew at the scene reports.

The fire was reported just before 8:30 p.m.

Some flames were visible when our crew arrived.

No other details are available at this time.

Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.

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