Arlington Man Honored for Heroism in Apartment Fire

Man assisted residents jumping from second-story apartments

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2011  |  Updated 12:48 AM CDT
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A man who helped rescue people from an apartment complex fire receives a Life Saving Award.

Brian Curtis, NBC 5 News

A man who helped rescue people from an apartment complex fire receives a Life Saving Award.

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Arlington firefighters celebrated the heroic efforts of a man who helped rescue people when their apartment complex caught fire last month.

Paul Puranda and Arlington firefighters received Life Saving Awards at Fire Station 8 on Monday morning.

Puranda helped catch several people who jumped from the second story during the Oct. 25 fire at the Creek at Brookhollow apartments.

"There were people trapped. There were people yelling for help," Assistant Fire Chief Jim Self said at a ceremony Monday.

Puranda woke to smoke and flames and the cries of apartment residents. He didn't even stop to grab a shirt.

"I just put my shoes on and jumped into action," he said.

Firefighters said he helped catch people when they jumped from their second-story apartments, including Britta and Justin Ross.

"I told her to jump. I told her, 'I promise, I will catch you," Puranda said.

"Nobody wants to throw the baby, and nobody wants to jump," Britta Ross said.

Her husband jumped and then caught their daughter. Then Puranda helped him catch Britta Ross.

"It was very intense," she said.

Puranda helped three more people to safety while firefighters worked on the front side of the building. He said he doesn't really remember feeling the flames or smelling the smoke.

"It's remarkable that he doesn't hesitate," Self said. "As a citizen of Arlington, he gave back to his community."

Firefighters from Engine 8 and Engine 2 were also recognized at Monday's event. They pulled Kristi Pursley and her four cats from the flames.

"These guys are heroes in every sense of the word," she said.

No one was seriously hurt in the fire.

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