Heroes save Temple Hills family during fire

Gene Ward, Michael sanfice and Vanessa Ward. (Photo: Horace Holmes)

A fire moved quickly to trap the family inside their Temple Hills home - but their neighbors moved quicker.

Two of the family members are still in the hospital Monday night. But they are lucky to be alive, thanks to a trio of heroes from their neighborhood.

Gene Ward and his daughter Vanessa live right next door to the house that caught fire. He immediately ran over to help while Vanessa called 911.

“Mr. Jim couldn't get out by himself,” Vanessa Ward says. “I knew somebody had to go in and help him.”

Trapped inside the house were 79-year-old James Musser, his 84-year-old wife Donna and their 50-year-old son Chris.

Gene Ward had kicked in the front door and gotten Donna Musser and Chris outside safely. He went upstairs and saw James Musser, a 300 pound man who uses a walker trapped right outside the burning bedroom.

“I said, 'Come on Mr. Jim, come on Mr. Jim - we got to get out of here,'” Gene Ward says. “He couldn't move his legs so I grabbed his legs and helped him slide down the steps.”

In the meantime, other neighbors rushed to help, bringing blankets and carrying the injured away from the house.

It was a neighborhood of heroes pulling together and helped restore the faith of some.

“I don't know about hero,” Gene Ward says. “I just thank god for the strength I had.”