Firefighter: Bystanders helped save autistic man, sister trapped in fire

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- One of the firefighters who helped rescue two disabled people from a North Charleston apartment building talked Friday about the ordeal.

What was once a home is now coated with thick, black soot. Those people inside the home were fortunate Fire Capt. Christopher Gay was among the first to get to the fire.

"I wouldn't call myself a hero, I was just doing my job," he said.

But many would disagree with Gay. He helped rescue two people from the Bonds Avenue apartment Wednesday night, and he says the help he had made it possible.

"At that time, there were bystanders in the yard. They told us there were two autistic children inside," Gay said. "We went ahead, masked up, and prepared to enter the building."

Actually inside the building were two adults with disabilities. One was a 27-year-old autistic man, and the other was his 25-year-old wheelchair-bound sister with cerebral palsy

"They were laying on their backs in the bath tub and unconscious at the time," Gay said.

Gay says the bystanders helped him act quickly. Now he's hoping for the best for the man and his sister who were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

"To the person who let me know: thank you. And to the two in hospital, we are praying for you," he said.

A neighbor said Friday both victims remain in a burn unit in Augusta. The woman is responding well to the treatments, but her brother remains in critical condition, the neighbor said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.