Neighbors Help 97-Year-Old Woman To Escape Raging House Fire


On Sept. 12 in White Aspen, North Carolina, a fire broke out in a 2-story family home. When onlookers saw the home had gone up in flames they were concerned — but they were even more concerned when they noticed an elderly woman was standing on the front porch, not moving away.

The fire, which started around 7 p.m., destroyed the house and most of the Cabrera family’s possessions, but if some good neighbors hadn’t jumped in, the Cabreras could’ve lost their grandmother, too.

Robert Chavis told WSOC-TV that he wasn’t the first to notice 97-year-old Carmen Torres stranded on the porch, but he quickly jumped in to help.

“I saw one of my neighbors motioning for someone to come on, like they were on the porch and by the time I got to the front of the house, four or five of us probably just grabbed her and pulled her over here to the hill, to safety,” he said.

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“You always say what you would do or could do,” he added, “but you never know what you can do until you’re put in that situation.”

Another neighbor said, “It was so hot standing there. You could see the fear in this woman’s eyes,” according to Inside Edition.

Neighbor Chuck Frazier ran up to the house to grab Torres. “When I pulled her and she hit the ground,” he said. “[E]veryone grabbed and helped her out. It was hard to do but we all did it together,” he said.

Initially, Torres was in bad shape but was taken to the hospital and began recovering. The fire was determined to have started because of an accidental electrical malfunction.

In a shaky cell phone video that captured the caring rescue, a person can be heard saying they can feel how hot the fire is.

While the Cabreras lost most of their earthly possessions, many have stepped in to help during their time of need.

“[You] would never think something so devastating would happen until it happens to [you],” Michelle Cabrera posted on Sept. 13. “Everything is so surreal. It feels like a bad dream [and] I’m just gonna wake up from this horrible nightmare. But [I know] this is real. It did happen … All in all. I would like to thank everyone who reached out [and] all the prayers.”

“I just saw the news from my house fire and i cant [be] more thankful that my wonderful neighbors from madison park saved and carried my grandmother to safety,” Cabrera posted a short while later. “Blessed to have my neighbors.”

A woman from Kids ‘R’ Kids Charlotte, who works with Michelle, started a GoFundMe for the family.

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“The family’s most critical needs right now are: setting up/furnishing temporary housing and replacing clothing, household items, etc,” the page reads. “Money donated will be used to help this family restart their lives. Any contribution will help and is greatly appreciated.”

On Sept. 16, the Kids ‘R’ Kids Charlotte page posted a happy update.

“We have raised $7,700 of our $10,000 goal!” it shared. “Keep sharing … it’s working! Also our friends at Chicken Salad Chick are hosting a fundraiser this Wednesday from 5-8pm where 50% of their sales will go back to Michelle Cabrera and her family. Please consider making that your dinner for the evening!”

Thanks to members of the community, the Cabrera family is being well looked after. The world could use more neighbors like these.

UPDATE, Sept. 20, 2019: As of early Friday afternoon, the GoFundMe page set up for this family was within $100 of reaching its $10,000 goal.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking