70-year-old Vietnam veteran hailed as hero after saving neighbors from house fire

by Peter Heck · Oct 28th, 2020 8:45 am
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Last Updated Oct 28th, 2020 at 6:39 pm

Marshall Helm, a 70-year-old Vietnam-era veteran battling cancer, rushed into the burning home of his neighbors and rescued them as flames engulfed the house early Wednesday morning.

Helm had just walked his granddaughter to the bus stop when the driver leaned out and alerted him to the blaze. A heat lamp being used for baby chicks in the garage of Gary and Kathy Benjamin had tipped over and ignited a fire that quickly spread into the walls. Helm pushed his way past the flames to enter the house, and began shouting.

"I was hollering 'fire, fire, you got to get out of here. Anybody in here.' And I kept repeating, 'is anybody in here,'" Helm said.

The Benjamins were still asleep in their bedroom and awoke to the sound of Helm's voice after having already breathed in a significant amount of smoke. Confused and disoriented, the Benjamins followed Helm into the hallway only to find the front entrance he had used blocked by flames.

The three escaped through the back door uninjured. Though having lost 40 years of possessions and the home they shared together, the Benjamins consider themselves blessed to be alive, and credit the 70-year-old former B-29 mechanic with saving them.

"Lifesaver, lifesaver is all I can say," Gary Benjamin said.

A GoFundMe has been set up on behalf of the Benjamins.


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