(La Porte, IN) - Four high school classmates were back together again when they possibly saved the lives of a couple from a structure fire in La Porte.
Drake Gunn believes fate must have been at work because he and his old school chums just reunited and were heading to a friend’s house when they came upon the July 12th blaze.
“I guess it was meant to happen so I’m just glad I get to come and help people out, especially with my brothers for a very long time,” he said.
He, along with Jerry Fulton, Wes Cabrera, and Tarick Jackson, was given a Certificate of Excellence award at Monday night’s La Porte City Council meeting.
Fulton, who just returned from a 10-month stint in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army, expressed deep appreciation for the recognition.
“It’s a great achievement,” he said.
The LaPorte High School graduates from 2019, 2018 and 2017, were driving by about 6 p.m. when they spotted flames engulfing an attached garage and rapidly spreading to the house in the 1400 block of I Street.
La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said they pounded on the front door until a woman inside, unaware of the fire, answered. She then alerted her husband working in the backyard.
Fulton said the man started putting water on the flames with a garden hose
but with the fire still building urged him not to take any chances and wait for firefighters.
Snyder said the men at the very least could have prevented someone from being harmed.
“I commend them for stopping and taking action when they could have just went on by,” Snyder said.
The garage and both vehicles inside it were destroyed.
Snyder said the home will require extensive repair from fire, smoke, and water damage before the couple can move back in.
The cause of the fire was still being looked into but it might be related to an electrical problem, he said.
Three of the men are former high school basketball teammates.
Gunn is currently a member of the basketball team at Eastern Arizona College.
“With everything going on in the world it’s nice to see four individuals from our community stepping up and putting their own lives at risk,” said Mayor Tom Dermody.