LAPORTE — Four high school classmates were back together again when they possibly saved the lives of a couple from a structure fire in LaPorte.
Drake Gunn believes fate must have been at work because he and his old school chums just reunited and were heading to a friend’s house when they came upon the July 12 blaze.
“I’m just glad I get to come and help people out," he said.
He, Jerry Fulton, Wes Cabrera and Tarick Jackson were given a certificate of excellence award at a recent LaPorte City Council meeting.
Fulton, who just returned from a 10-month stint in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army, expressed deep appreciation for the recognition.
“It’s a great achievement,” he said.
The LaPorte High School graduates from 2019, 2018 and 2017 were driving by about 6 p.m. when they spotted flames engulfing an attached garage and rapidly spreading to the house in the 1400 block of I Street.
LaPorte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said they pounded on the front door until a woman inside unaware of the fire answered.
She then alerted her husband working in the backyard.
Fulton said the man started putting water on the flames with a garden hose, but with the fire still building, she urged him not to take any chances and wait for firefighters.
Snyder said the men at the very least could have prevented someone from being harmed.
“I commend them for stopping and taking action when they could have just went on by,” Snyder said.
The garage and both vehicles inside it were destroyed.
Snyder said the home will require extensive repair from fire, smoke and water damage before the couple can move back in.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it's suspected it might be related to an electrical problem, he said.
“With everything going on in the world it’s nice to see four individuals from our community stepping up and putting their own lives at risk,” said Mayor Tom Dermody.
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