4 men work together to rescue resident from fast-moving house fire in Dayton

UPDATE @ 8:23 p.m.: Four men worked together at a house fire Thursday afternoon on Clement Avenue in Dayton to rescue a resident who was trapped in the basement.

One of the group, Derrick Vinzant, said he and his partner Jessie were driving through the neighborhood, on their way to deliver an appliance, when they heard a woman screaming "there's an old man trapped in the basement!"

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Vinzant, who lives in the neighborhood, said two men were standing in front of the house in the 700 block of Clement, just off Germantown Street, when he pulled over. He believes they had been driven out by the smoke. A caller to 9-1-1 told a dispatcher that two men had run inside the burning house. Dayton firefighters said the two were able to get out safely.

Vinzant said his partner kicked in a basement window, which was covered with wood and bars.

"We could hear the man hollering for help," Vinzant said, and they could see his hands. The four worked together to pull away the bars and the debris off the window and "luckily, the man was able to be hoisted out of the window," Vinzant said.

"It was like a movie but it was really happening," he told News Center 7's Molly Koweek on Thursday night.

The four men, the victim and his niece gathered outside the burning home and celebrated the rescue with this statement: "Dayton strong. West Side strong. This is how we do it!" Vinzant said.

He rejected being called a hero, preferring to see himself and the others as people who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

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Fire crews said the house was a total loss and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Sherry Moon said her uncle, Joe Douglas, had gone to the basement to turn off the electricity to the house because he saw smoke. He found himself trapped.

"I begin to call on the Lord because it looked like it was over," Douglas told News Center 7 right after the fire. "I'm blessed. It was Him that worked out the miracle. He sent the guys over to me."

Moon, when asked if she had a message for the rescuers, said, "whoever you are, we're grateful for you tonight. Thank you very much and may you guys be blessed and prosper. We appreciate you."

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