NASHUA, N.H (WHDH) – Neighbors jumped into action and put their own lives in danger to save a 97-year-old woman trapped inside her burning home.
Lariana Garvis of Nashua, New Hampshire was driving nearby and the smell of smoke led her here to the burning house.
“I literally saw flames blowing the windows out”, she said.
She flagged down another driver named Jay Pichardo who went into the house, picked up the chair the woman was sitting in and carried her to the door.
Tom Kehoe ran over from his house next door to meet Pichardo at the door and help get the woman safely across the street.
“Next thing I know I’m backing up, coming down the stairs, and Jay’s got the other end,” Kehoe said.
Cellphone video of the incident went viral last fall.
In it, Garvis can be heard saying: “We got you! We got you!”
Pichardo: “Is there anybody else?”
Kehoe said the only thing on his mind in those tense moments was getting that elderly woman to safety — and so they did.
However, not long after the daring rescue, Kehoe collapsed and suffered a heart attack.
“Is he breathing? Is he breathing?” Garvis can be heard shouting. She thankfully knew CPR and started giving directions to those around them.
“I just immediately started chest compressions,” she said.
Sharon, Kehoe’s wife of almost four decades, was by his side throughout the duration of the medical emergency.
“I look up and I say, ‘Please God, don’t let him die, please God,’” she said.
“And I said you’re not going to die. You just got her out, you’re not going now!” said Garvis. “It was hard to see. He turned blue, his head was blue, his face was blue his hands were blue.”
Garvis’ efforts paid off and Kehoe was rushed to the hospital for triple bypass surgery. Now, he said he is thankful for everything those good Samaritans did to help him on that fateful day.
“The incident brought to light my heart issues that I didn’t know existed – wouldn’t have known existed if it wasn’t for this episode,” he said. “It all happened for a reason.”
His wife said it is a good reminder of how much impact a stranger can have over one’s life.
All three now say they are as close as family and it turns out, Kehoe knew Garvis’ dad in high school.
He said he can’t believe the daughter of his high school friend was there to save his life.
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