As Orlando man escapes burning home, neighbors rush to his aid

Firefighters responded to a fire in Orlando's Fairview Shores neighborhood late Monday afternoon.  Just after 5 p.m., several trucks were at a residence at 1401 Arthur St. where traffic had been shut down.  

A witness said she saw her neighbor running from the house to the sidewalk, and he appeared to have sustained burns on his hands and legs. He was taken to the hospital.  

Firefighters remained on the scene to keep an eye on any possible flare-ups, after flames went through the roof of the home, with the homeowner inside.

"Huge flames, a lot of smoke just billowing the whole sky," said neighbor Happy Gafford. 

"There was a big gas explosion," explained Gafford's husband, George.  "A big poof and then the smoke increased dramatically after that." 

He said he went back into his house and told his wife to call 911. Luckily the man was able to escape his home but was burned in the fire and that’s when Happy and other neighbors ran to help the man.  

"I mostly stayed with the homeowner who had been burned. There were a bunch of us trying to help him," she said. "We got cold towels and that’s what we put on him, and so we put them on his arms and his legs."

She said the family told her that the fire was started by a candle, but it quickly accelerated leaving a truck charred from the blaze. 

"I think the explosion was a gas can that was on the front porch, by the vehicle behind me under the porch," said Chief Harvey Jones of the Orlando Fire Department. "That was the cause of the explosion." 

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Neighbors said the man, who lives at the home with his wife and two young children, was talking and seemed to be alright. 

Investigators are trying to determine the exact cause of the fire.