Good Samaritan pulls woman from East Anchorage house fire

Authorities say a good Samaritan helped pull a woman from a house fire in Alaska. (Source: KTUU)
Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 10:33 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Katie Hickman was driving in an East Anchorage neighborhood on Tuesday, using a maps application on her phone to pick up an item being donated to her, when she spotted a house on fire.

What Hickman did next might have kept the fire from turning into a deadly one.

The Anchorage resident said if it wasn’t for the traffic light turning red in the moments before spotting the house, she would have never turned down Mink Avenue and seen it.

Once she saw the flames, she sprung into action.

“I just go straight to the house, I open the door, I try to go in but the smoke already to like waist high,” Hickman recounted.

Hickman says her instincts kicked in as soon as she saw the blaze.

“I just start banging on the floor, banging on the floor, ‘Is anybody here? Is anybody here? Answer, call out!’, and after about 10 or 20 seconds I hear a voice,” Hickman said. “All up in the panic, I don’t remember what she said, but it was like, ‘I’m here, I’m something’. I keep banging, ‘Follow my voice, follow my voice, follow the banging!’ and as soon as she gets where I can actually see her feet I just grab her and pull her.”

With help from a couple of neighbors, Hickman dragged the woman out of the home, and by that point, firefighters had arrived at the scene and paramedics took over.

“Her hair was burnt off, her face was blackened, she definitely had some trouble breathing — she had to have been in there for quite a bit, maybe I even woke her up? I don’t know,” Hickman said.

The woman from the house was taken to a hospital. Hickman said she initially refused medical treatment, even though she did inhale some smoke and has asthma, saying she had to check on her kids. She eventually was given a precautionary check.

Along with the woman who was inside, a dog was rescued too.

“I think the fire chief called and he told me the dog made it,” Hickman said. “I knew she had a pet, but she kind of already assumed, but the fact that now I know — I’m so much more relaxed, that yay, I didn’t just (help) her but her dog’s saved!”

Ultimately, Hickman says she is just glad everyone got out safely. As a single mom of three children, she says she relies on donations and just so happened to be searching for someone who was giving away a free cat tunnel.

“I’m just really appreciative, if it wasn’t for the ‘buy nothing’ group, I literally wouldn’t have been there. Just wouldn’t have been there,” Hickman said. “So a cat tunnel saved a person’s life is my way of seeing it.”

Hickman thanked the nearby neighbors who she said played a big role in saving the woman’s life, as well as the responding firefighters and emergency personnel.

The Anchorage Fire Department initially said two people were injured, but later confirmed only one person was taken to the hospital with injuries. The current condition of the woman pulled from the fire is unknown.