“One of the nicest guys’ saved from his burning home in South Haven
By Matt Mikus firstname.lastname@example.org November 19, 2012 11:10PM
Updated: December 21, 2012 6:18AM
SOUTH HAVEN — A fire destroyed a house on Heritage Road, but the resident was rescued by his neighbors after being alerted to the fire by pets next door.
The fire started around 2:30 p.m. Monday, at 769 Heritage Road, according to Bill Lundy, Fire Chief for the South Haven Fire Department. The fire also caused minor damage to the north residence. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
The homeowner, Russ Simcox, was inside at the start of the fire, but lost consciousness as he was trying to leave the building, making it halfway out the door of the house.
Neighbor Robert Sulitz came home to eat as his house, when he noticed his two dogs, Jersey and Ivy, were acting strange.
“When I came home from work, the house was fine,” Sulitz said, “I let the dogs out, and they were barking like crazy. They were trying to tell me that something was wrong.”
He went outside to check, where he saw Simcox laying halfway outside the house. Sulitz and another neighbor pulled him to safety.
Simcox was transported to Porter Regional Hospital, then transferred to another hospital, which could not release the patient’s condition.
Sulitz said that his neighbor was very friendly, especially with his two dogs. It could be the reason that the dogs warned him of the fire.
“He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet,” Sulitz said, “He always keeps a box of dog treats in the garage. Some people say pets don’t save other people. I don’t believe that one bit.”
Neighbors from the area who gathered at the scene were discussing ways they could help Simcox and his family, since he is well known for being willing to help others.
“This is Thanksgiving weekend,” said Paula Saylor of Portage, “and this family has nothing now. It’d be nice to try to give them something to help.”