Vietnam veteran Marshall Helm battling cancer saved a couple from their house that was burning down as he was taking his granddaughter to catch the bus to go to school in Salem, Illinois. As the bus driver pulled up to the stop, he noticed the house on fire and Helms selflessly rushed over and pulled out his neighbors, Gary and Kathy Benjamin.
A heat lamp in the couple’s garage caught fire at about 7:30 A.M. as they slept and if it wasn’t for Helms, they would have suffered more than just minor injuries caused by smoke inhalation. Kathy told KMOV4 that she “didn’t know what was happening” and Gary said, “All I saw was flames coming through the wall.”
Marshall explained to the local news publication that as the bus pulled up, the “bus driver hung out the door and tried to get my attention and he said ‘fire, fire, fire.’ And I looked over here and sure enough, I saw a fire coming through that window.”
Helm continued to explain how he was able to make the heroic save, saying that he was able to access the house through a side door in the garage and was able to go through the flames without getting hurt. He then made it into the and “was hollering ‘fire, fire, you got to get out of here. Anybody in here.’ And I kept repeating, ‘is anybody in here,’” he told KMOV4.
After he alerted the sleeping couple of the fire, they managed to escape from the backdoor. While the couple is upset that the house they’ve been living in for 40 years was burned down along with the memories but they said possessions can always be replaced. They expressed their gratitude for someone like Helm being a “hero” and have also set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to recover.
Gary Benjamin said, “Lifesaver, lifesaver is all I can say,” while his wife told KMOV4, “Hero, he’s our angel.”