Eureka Hero Details Saving Elderly Man

Timothy Byars and dog. (Used from his Facebook with permission.)

“I was driving down Henderson and I saw a fire flickering off a window,” explained Timothy Byars (age 24) about last Tuesday’s structure fire in Eureka. He didn’t immediately see the fire. Byars was on his way to work at Winco but he didn’t dismiss the image in the window and keep driving. Instead, he keep looking and found the home on fire, 2807 R Street.

He quickly called 911 and described the situation.

He ran and banged on the door.

No answer.

Byars ran to the two nearest homes and banged on their doors.  Still, no answer.

He ran back to the home on fire. This time he saw a door slightly open. He pushed it wide. “The smoke was so thick, it looked like it was matching with the white walls,” Byars recounted. He stepped into the smoke-filled room. Breathing made him feel like his “lungs were on fire.”

Through the thick haze, he spotted a pair of legs wandering aimlessly. “I was able to see someone walking around with his walker….He was just in a little hospital bathrobe.”  

Byars rushed into the smoke. He said he wasn’t afraid. “I just wanted to make sure everyone was out of there.” 

He helped the elderly man make his way out. “Neighbors came and helped me get him down,” Byars said. The neighbors got blankets to wrap around the resident as Humboldt Bay Fire arrived.

“A fireman said if I hadn’t gotten to him in time, he probably wouldn’t have survived,” Byars sounds amazed at the situation. 

“My whole family is proud of me…My friends are astounded,” he says a little awed. 

The resident was taken to the hospital, treated, and released.

Byars hopes the man is okay. He thinks about him a lot. “I’ve been wondering how he’s been doing after the fire… . It felt really good risking my life for somebody.”


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