Yakima firefighters pull a man from burning home - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima firefighters pull a man from burning home

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- A fire in Yakima could have ended very differently Tuesday night if it wasn't for some quick thinking firefighters.

Crews train for countless hours to be able to save lives and fight fires, but it's not everyday they have to use all those skills to save a life.
A little before 9pm, crews responded to a mobile home on fire off of Nob Hill Boulevard in Yakima.

At first, it seemed like a standard structure fire.

"We knocked out some windows, knocked down a little bit of fire, what we could, what we call transitional attack," said Firefighter Travis Hellewell.

But that transitional attack, quickly turned into something else. Crews say a family member pulled up to the scene, telling them that her father was still somewhere inside the home. And that's when they say this turned from a firefighting effort, into a life saving mission.

"She points to the window and says, my dad's in that room," said Hellewell.

Crews had to act fast, so Firefighter Hellewell and another climbed into the burning home to start the search.

"He says, I think I found him, he's right here. At that time I found him also laying next to the bed on his hands and knees, not responsive but he was breathing," said Hellewell.

To get the victim to safety, crews decided to cut a hole in the side of the house, and pull him out. A move they say likely kept him alive.

"We train, try to put as many tools in the box as we can to use and this happened to be the best option for what we had," said Firefighter Brad Hopkins.

The fire ended up causing about $75,000 in damage but because of the quick thinking of these firefighters, a family saved a whole lot more.

"Having only one crew out west we have a lot more time on scene before another crew gets there, so when we have a good ending like that, it feels good," said Firefighter Brian Kneisler.