Lakeview fire victims praise brave neighbor

Published: May. 29, 2021 at 10:00 PM CDT|Updated: May. 29, 2021 at 10:20 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Some Lakeview residents Have lost everything, but feel lucky to have escaped unharmed after a large fire. They are crediting a neighbor for helping save their lives.

A fast-moving fire On Catina street Friday night shot flames across three stories of a large Lakeview double.

“I didn’t think we were going to get out...when I opened my bedroom door and saw the smoke I couldn’t see the hand in front of my face,” said

Eugenie Vulevich, who had just gone to sleep on the third floor unaware that her home of the past two months was on fire.

As a neighbor shot video, and another stepped into action.

“There was a gentleman who saved our lives,’ she said.

A man she had never met before, ran to the flames.

“He came in our house, he was banging on the wall screaming for us and he wouldn’t stop and persistently kept banging,” said Vulevich.

On the lower two floors, five other people managed to escape, including one resident who tried to wake her roommates on the 3rd floor but had to back away to save her nine-month-old baby, who had been sleeping in this crib.

“Smoke just started coming through the house really fast and she tried to come upstairs and wake me and my other roommate it was too smoky she could not make it up there,” said Vulevich. She has seen fire destruction before but never thought it would happen to her

“I pretty much lost everything, all my clothing, everything,” she said.

The tenant says it’s amazing so much of the building was left standing and she credits the fast work of the New Orleans fire department.

“Firetrucks got here quick and they put the fire out fast,” said Vulevich.

As she tried to collect what few belongings were left, Vulevich takes time out to give thanks to a neighbor she had never met.

Darnell Jackson says he was up late last night and saw smoke out of his window.

“I thought it was a family barbecue at first,” Jackson said.

Jackson ran inside the burning house, and up to the third-floor stairwell while the building burned, to make sure sleeping residents would wake up and get out.

“I went halfway up the steps and there was a lot of smoke and I just started banging on the wall and I saw some lights and they found her phone and they started coming back I said OK just follow me,” said Jackson.

Jackson says he didn’t do much, but his neighbor said she owes him her life.

“I owe him everything he saved my life, he saved all of our lives,” Vulevich said.

“Everybody be careful, I’m just glad everybody got out,” said Jackson.

Vulevich says she will be staying with family and friends until she can find a new place to live. The New Orleans fire department has not released the cause of the fire

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