Family members and loved ones of the man who died in Saturday's apartment fire say they were just moments away from saving his life.
Lee Andrew Dial, 60, died in a fire that happened around 1:45 a.m. on Saturday at the Starlight Apartments on East 23rd and Fir.
Dial's stepbrother Bobby Reed says Dial's niece Mary Childs is the one who kicked the door opened that allowed neighbor Ned Taylor Jr. to run into the burning apartment.
"She's the one that got the door open. She's a hero and I'm proud of her for that and I appreciate what she's done."
Childs says she doesn't look at herself as a hero because she just did what she had to do.
"We smelled smoke. We turned around and noticed where the smoke was coming from. I just immediately turned around and ran and kicked the door open but it was too late," Childs said. "There was so much smoke... there was nothing I could do."
Childs says this is a very tough time for her and her family. A funeral service for Dial's daughter, Shantra Taylor, 37, was later that same day. Neighbors say Taylor died from cancer.
"Right now the family is going through a rough time. We're just going to always stick together and try to have strength for one another during this time of sorrow," said Childs.
Childs called her uncle "Blue" and says she just wants everyone to be careful so this will never happen again.
"You have to pay attention to electrical wiring and cigarette smoking. A lot of things start fires."
Preliminary results from Dial's autopsy are expected to be available later this afternoon.
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