LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - On Friday September 11, the South Plains Red Cross will honor several local heroes during their annual Champions Breakfast. NewsChannel 11's Katie Bauer introduces one Lubbock man who risked his safety for the safety of others.
"It was a big lightning bolt and I felt it, all of the hairs on me stood up," said Eric Salinas.
Eric Salinas instantly knew something was wrong on that early morning in July. He says he woke his wife and kids and quickly got them out of their home at the Park Apartments. Once outside he realized the lightning caused part of the apartment complex to catch fire. He knew that his neighbors were still inside and ran back in to get them to safety.
"I'm kicking the door, kicking the door, and finally she opens the door and she's like what's going on and I said the fire hasn't gotten to your apartment yet, but the apartment is on fire," said Salinas. He alerted as many families as he could by banging on their doors. "She opens her window and says she needs some help, so I'm trying to kick the door open, kick the door open, and finally get the door open and her whole apartment is engulfed in smoke," said Salinas.
By the time fire crews arrived on the scene, everyone was out safely, thanks to Salinas. "I reacted in that spilt moment, isn't something that just comes natural you get trained to do all that kind of stuff," said Salinas.
Trained with the skills Salinas learned as a U.S. Marine, he continued to help get his neighbors to safety. "Of course the old saying, once a Marine, always a Marine, so that morning he credited his Marine Corp. training with instantly waking up and springing into emergency mode," said Bill Curnow with the South Plains Red Cross.
Curnow assisted the four displaced families after the fire destroyed their homes and accredits Salinas as a hero. "It's difficult to imagine what might have happened worst case scenario not everyone would have made it out of that fire alive," said Curnow.
But Salinas said he was just doing what he was trained to do, and what he believes others would do too. "If you were at home with the kids by yourself, I would hope to God that someone would not even think twice to run up there and help you," said Salinas.
Salinas salvaged very little from the fire that day, but made out with what's important- family. "Thanks to God everybody was safe, it wasn't me doing it was all by the grace of God," said Salinas.
It took a little faith to strike courage in Salina, but it went a long way.
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2009 Red Cross Champions