College Student Saves Woman From Burning Fire Amidst Confusion, Hailed a Hero

By Paula Liu

A fire broke out in a home in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, on May 2, 2018, that left the family devastated. The flames destroyed the majority of their property and charred their house.

However, the disaster would have turned even more tragic if it weren’t for a passing-by stranger, according to WJZ.

Tre Williams, a student who was walking by, noticed the fire and realized that there was an 80-year-old woman by the back door who needed help.

“I yelled to the fire department, ‘Somebody’s in the house,'” Williams told WJZ. “But it was loud, like the sirens, and there was a lot of cars driving by.”

The firefighters weren’t able to hear him through the noise, so Williams took matters into his own hands to save the older woman.

“So he just happened to be here,” Johnston’s daughter, Carleen Perez said, “I believe the Lord put him here for that reason. He was impressed to do it, and he did it.”

Williams said he was walking home from school when he noticed the smoke coming from a house on Quarterfield Road. When he got to the house he saw fire on the porch of Gail Johnston’s home.

“I ran up, asked the lady outside…what was wrong with her, does she need help,” Williams said in a video tweeted by the Baltimore Ravens. He showed up at their practice and told his story.

“And so she called the fire department, and we went to the side of the house. So we waited a little bit longer, I saw an old lady, she’s in the house but she couldn’t get out. So I jumped over the fence, and I untangled her from the oxygen tank and brought her outside.”

Williams told WBAL TV that Johnston was tangled by the oxygen tank, and so he untangled her. According to Williams, the woman kept on asking him what was happening, and what had happened. He put his arms around her shoulder and kept on ushering her out of the house.

“She was so out of it, and I just kept saying ‘we gotta go,'” he said.

He helped her out as the fire department put out the fire on the house.

Perez said her mother, Johnston, was fighting cancer, struggled with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and used an oxygen tank.

The family went back to the house the day after to clean up and go through what was left of the house for any possessions that may still be intact. Perez said Williams also returned to the house to visit Johnston to make sure she was okay.

“He’s a brave, brave soul, because the house was on fire,” said Perez. “So we appreciated that because we love our mom, and we were just so happy that Tre did that.”

Williams told the WJZ that he was acting on instinct alone and the values his mother taught him as a child.

“I keep telling everybody, I don’t think I’m a hero or anything,” Williams said. “It’s just, I did something I wish anybody else would have done.”

Johnston’s family met Williams on the day of the fire and gave him a big hug telling him how grateful and thankful they were that he was there that day.

“I don’t think I really did anything too spectacular, just hopefully, anybody in that situation would have done it, because any of us would want somebody to help us if we needed it too.”