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Neighbor pulls girl from burning home


Imlay Fire Chief credits 65-year-old man for saving girl's life



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September 01, 2010
IMLAY CITY — A neighbor man is being credited with rescuing a six-year-old girl from a burning house on Newark Rd. Sunday afternoon, August 29.

Fire Chief Kip Reaves said Norman Anzures, 65, first noticed smoke coming from a window of his neighbor's home in the 7700 block of Newark at around 2:15 p.m.

Reacting instinctively, Anzures grabbed his cell phone and called 911, while running in full stride to the burning home.

Realizing a little girl lived in the house, Anzures first approached the side door. From that vantage he could hear the girl's grandmother crying out for help near the garage.

"When I got there the upstairs was already in flames and the windows were popping," Anzures recalled. "The grandma told me she had been in the shower. She had a blanket wrapped around her and I think she was scared and embarrassed.

"She said the little girl was still in the house, so I had to get her out," he said. "I was so scared. There was an outside door to the basement. I opened the door and there was a lot of smoke coming out.

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Norman Anzures says he acted on instinct when he ran into burning home to rescue a little girl. photo by Tom Wearing.

"I called out for the little girl, but I think she was scared and she didn't want to come out at first," said Anzures. "I just went in there and grabbed her hand and pulled her out."

Anzures said he has lived in his childhood home on Newark Rd. for about 43 years. An employee at Bridgewater-Johnson Controls in Warren for nearly three decades, he said he takes being a good neighbor in stride.

"The other neighbors weren't around so I had to do it," said Anzures. "I was planning on going to a union picnic that day. I'm glad I didn't."

Reaves shared Anzures' sentiments, while acknowledging his quick action and bravery in the face of possible tragedy.

"Mr. Anzures had already gotten her out by the time we got to the scene," said Reaves. "It's very likely he saved that little girl's life.

"The family lost everything of material value in the fire," he continued. "Thanks to Norman, that precious little girl got out unharmed and a tragedy was avoided.

"I believe he saved a little girl's life and he's a hero in our books."

Reaves reported there was extensive damage to the upper level of the home and to the attic. He said firefighters were on the scene for nearly four hours, battling the intense heat of the fire and temperatures in the nineties.

He estimated damage to the home at about $90,000, adding that the homeowner did not have insurance on the house nor its contents.

He said an investigation is ongoing and the origin of the fire is currently unknown.

In addition to Imlay City firefighters, manpower assistance was provided by the Almont, Attica, Goodland and Mussey Township fire departments.

Also responding were Lapeer County Sheriffs deputies, Lapeer EMS and volunteers from the American Red Cross.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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