CORONA DEL MAR (CBSLA.com) — Three men helped save their neighbor who was trapped on the second story of a burning home in Corona del Mar on Monday.
The blaze happened shortly before 2:40 p.m. in the 600 block of Marguerite Avenue.
Tom Crooks was working in his home when he smelled smoke and saw flames coming from Greg Lee’s house.
“It was a very frightening thing. I smelled first and then saw this house burning like crazy,” he said.
Crooks called 911 and then ran outside to help.
His next door neighbor, Jim Dukette, grabbed a ladder.
“We were the ones in the alley saying ‘Is someone in there?’ And I said…I think Greg might be in there,” said Dukette.
Both men said they saw Lee’s truck still parked in the driveway.
The victim, they said, is a contractor who is often at home.
Another neighbor climbed up a ladder to the second story, where it appeared Lee struggled to get out.
Crooks and Dukette sprayed water at the window.
“Greg was there at the window and fell over to his waist and hung out. (He) fell off the top of the ladder… we kept trying to get him out, but he was too heavy… he was dead weight,” said Dukette.
The neighbor who climbed the ladder was injured as he tried to pull the resident to safety.
Two police officers were also hurt.
The victim is in critical condition.
“I think, unassisted, he may have died from smoke inhalation,” said Dukette.
The blaze is under investigation.