Neighbor rescues woman from Ahwatukee house fire

Posted at 6:01 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-03 09:40:09-05

A quick-thinking neighbor saved an 84-year-old woman from a burning house in Ahwatukee on Tuesday.

"I ran between the houses, and I saw across Ahwatukee Drive there was a house fully involved in smoke and flames. I looked over the wall, I saw this window opening, [and] I saw her there. I asked if she could get out, she says, ‘I can't move,’ and I jumped the wall and I ran over," said Christopher Gentis, who is a retired Phoenix police lieutenant. "I then grabbed under her arms and dragged her through the windowsill. All that smoke in the house just started pouring out over us, and I [dragged] her out.”

ABC15 was at 48th Street and Elliot Road shortly before 6 p.m. as firefighters were battling the flames. Fire officials said there was a partial roof collapse.

"We have a true hero here tonight," Phoenix Fire spokeswoman Ardell Deliz said. "The fact that he went in there with her is just very valiant."

Gentis said his instincts kicked in when he saw the flames.

"(It was) autopilot all the way. Humans taking care of humans, doing the right thing and taking care of business," he said. "I’ve been involved with [fires] before. I'm glad I was there at the right time. It was all timing.”

The woman was taken to a hospital in stable condition for smoke inhalation, and Gentis was not injured.

The cause of the fire was not released.