Statesboro couple credits neighbors for fiery rescue - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Couple credits neighbors for fiery rescue


Les Kicklighter had left his wife sleeping at home when he went across town to help their son with a flooded basement.

"It got a call from a neighbor at 8:04 who said my house was on fire. All I could say was 'Kathy is in there!' and he told me she was out safely.

Three neighbors, Vinny Castellano, Rusty Thompson, and Bill Akins, saw the smoke and rushed to the front door.

"Rusty got there first and said he'd rung the doorbell and nobody answered," explained Castellano, who'd just moved into the neighborhood the day before. "But something told me something was wrong and we kicked in the door, mainly Rusty."

"I heard this terrific knocking at the door and yelling," Kathy recalled. "I got up in time to see them coming in the house and telling me the house was on fire."

They led her out to the street as flames ripped through the garage and moved into the house.

"I would have slept through it. Those three literally saved my life," she added.

Castellano doesn't call their actions heroic.

"It feels good to know you saved somebody. But I just did what I would want someone to do if it were my mother in there," he said.

It took crews six hours to put out the fire. During that time volunteers from the American Red Cross and Statesboro Fire Auxillary CAFE helped the Kicklighters. On Friday, they extended thanks to those groups, neighbors, church friencds from Pittman Park Methodist Church, and many they can't name.

"A lady pulled up yesterday and handed us some gift cards to use, I'd never seen her before," Les said in a voice thick with emotion.

The fire remains under investigation. The couple is staying with friends while they figure out what they're going to do.

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