Middle School Teacher Recalls Running Into Burning Home

Tom Coon helped lead two women to safety during a City Heights house fire

A quick-thinking world history teacher may have saved two women when he helped lead them away from a house fire.

Colleagues of seventh grade teacher Tom Coon reached out to NBC 7 to share the story of his actions during a recent City Heights fire.

The fire happened Monday afternoon in the 3400 block of Fairmount Avenue as a single-story home went up in flames.

“I was looking at it and all of the sudden I had a feeling like I needed to go help and do something,” Coon told NBC 7 in an exclusive interview Friday.

When Coon saw a flash and heard someone yell there was a fire, he said he ran out of Monroe Clark Middle School, jumped over a fence and went straight to the home.

Another man — a stranger — joined him, and together they saw a person come out from the smoke.

“We asked him if there were more people in the house, and he said ‘Yes, two more people,'” recalled Coon.

“We just sort of looked at each other and went into the house,” he added.

The smoke made it almost impossible to see inside. Coon said there were only a few inches of breathable air near the ground, so they started yelling for people to come out.

Suddenly, they saw two figures emerge. The men helped lead the two women to safety.

“What I could hear them saying is ‘What’s happening? What’s going on? How did this happen?’” Coon said.

Firefighters said the house suffered $200,000 in structure damage, $50,000 in damage to its contents inside and $20,000 in exposure damage. No injuries were reported.

“To think someone could be injured is really scary,” he said.

Coon’s colleagues and students think he’s a hero, but he doesn’t see it that way. He believes most other people in his community would have done the same thing.

“City Heights is a great community. People do look out for each other here,” he said.

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