SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Families living in a Springfield apartment complex are calling two men heroes, after the two helped them escape a fire that tore through their home early Tuesday morning.
Firefighters said the fire was sparked by a heat lamp on the front porch.
Matthew Jackson and his co-worker, Chris, were working at Arclin (off of 28th Street) when they took a break at around 2:00 a.m. and saw the flames coming from the porch on the apartment complex across the street. That's when they ran over to help.
"And we were just pounding on the windows, and just kept pounding saying 'Get up! Get up!' And finally, I could hear screaming," said Jackson.
Those screams for help were coming from Shana Simpson and her family. Minutes earlier, Simpson said she woke up to bright flames on her porch.
Although she tried to put the fire out, she found herself trapped inside the second floor apartment. Panicked, she looked out the window and saw Jackson.
"We opened the back window and he was out there," said Simpson. She said she then grabbed her four-year-old niece and took her to the window, a dropped her into Jackson's arms.
"'Just drop her, just drop her...I'll catch her!' They dropped her, and I caught her and she started crying and I go 'pretty girl you're OK now, you're OK,'" said Jackson.
Then came their dog; Jackson said Chris caught him.
Finally, after her two sons and sister, Simpson lowered herself out the window and into the hands of Jackson.
"We are all really grateful for his help, for him being there," said Simpson.
Thanks to the heroic actions of Jackson and Chris, everyone is OK. Simpson said she did lose a pet chameleon in the fire.
Firefighters said the outcome could have been very different: "Because the volume of fire that was coming out of this window above us, it would make a rescue very difficult to go interior...so what they did is just heroic. It's just the right time and the right place, and they had the courage to do it," said Battalion Chief Lance Lighty with Eugene Springfield Fire.
"I'm very thankful to have been put in this position and have helped these families...and everyone came out safe," said Jackson.
Matthew Jackson and his co-worker were on a break at around 2am when they saw the fire. They helped a family and their dog out a window, and pounded on doors to wake everyone else up: “I’m very thankful to have been put in this positon to help these families.” @KEZI9 pic.twitter.com/UHrEObOUFF
— Amber Wilmarth (@amberwilmarth) April 17, 2018