ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) - It's hard to see the extent of the damage done to the Anderson home ravaged by fire Wednesday.
Not much could be saved. Thankfully, both lives were.
It was 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Firefighters were called to a house fire in the 2200 block of Park Road and were on the scene in minutes. One person was able to get out on their own. But the person said someone else was still inside.
"So the engine company made a quick entry and kept the fire down enough that the rescue company could get in and make a quick search," said Battalion Chief Larry Towne. Eli Marshall was one of the firefighters who went in.
"We hit the floor, started on our knees, searched the initial front room the living room," said Marshall.
They searched other rooms and eventually made it to a back bedroom. That's where they found a man lying on the floor - unconscious but alive. "I just snatched him up best I knew how. His back was up against my chest," said Marshall. I grabbed his arms and I started to pull. It was only like 30 feet but seemed like it was a mile that I had to drag him."
Others joined in and got the victim into paramedics' arms where they loaded him into a waiting ambulance.
"He was fortunate we got to him as quickly as we did," said Towne.
Firefighters said they believe the fire started when the man woke up and began to cook something but apparently fell asleep. The victim was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated. He is expected to survive.
Marshall said the challenging conditions inside the home were exactly what firefighters train for.
"But you can't train for the exact circumstance that's in there because fire is unpredictable," he said. "We know kind of how to study and kind of what to expect, but it has a mind of its own. So we go in there and do the best we can. We know the risks that we're taking and we just hope that the outcome and the reward outweigh that risk."
Wednesday it did.
"The guys did a wonderful job. I can't say enough about the guys on this shift," said Towne. "They work hard and they train hard and it shows. It really does."
Three fires sent three different families out into the cold overnight.
The state of Indiana turns 197 on Wednesday.
The Indiana Motor Sports Commission approved the plans to move forward with a number of improvements at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.