Galesburg man and his roommate rescues friend’s grandmother from house fire

Posted at 2:01 PM, Mar 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-06 18:44:11-05

GALESBURG, Mich. — Riley James was in the right place at the right time Tuesday afternoon. He said he and his friend were walking on 30th street when he heard his friend’s grandmother screaming for help while her mobile home was on fire.

“She was in tears yelling ‘help’ and, you know, we had to help,” said James. “There’s no choice.”

James, 21, and Charlie Echols quickly ran to her and got her out of the house. She was trying to gather some of her belongings but James went to get them instead.

“I actually inhaled some [smoke]”, James said. “Charlie tried to come in after me and said ‘its too far gone, we gotta just get out of here.’”

Before James scrambled out, he grabbed her cell phone he said. Minutes later the Comstock Fire Department arrived.

“Our crews arrived to find a well-involved mobile home fire,” said Fire Chief Matt Beauchamp. “It’s in a non-hydrant area so we called for some assistance right away.”

Chief Beauchamp said crews had to attack the fire from the outside because the floor was giving out. It took them a few hours to extinguish it but they’re looking into what started it all.

“The homeowner stated she heard some popping noise before the fire,” said Chief Beauchamp. “Then she seen some smoke coming from the floorboard area.”

He said he’s grateful the grandmother was out of the home when they arrived. She’s currently staying at a neighbor’s house.

“She’s a little shaken up,” James said. “But other than that she’s just happy to be OK.”

***James set up a GoFundMe page to help the grandmother during this time. If you would like to make a donation, click here.***