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Archive for Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fire victim praises rescuer

February 13, 2008

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Man pulled from blaze out of hospital

A man who was pulled from his burning house on Monday is out of the hospital. Enlarge video

George Robson said he knew an outreached arm came to his aid just at the right time.

The 69-year-old lifelong Lawrence resident was rescued from a fire at his south Lawrence home Monday, and he was released from Lawrence Memorial Hospital on Tuesday afternoon after treatment for smoke inhalation.

"It was a relief when I grabbed his arm, and then I knew I was going out the door," Robson said in a telephone interview Tuesday shortly before he was released from LMH.

The man who helped save him, Brad Shuck, an agent for McGrew Real Estate, saw smoke when he drove through the neighborhood. Saying he doesn't even like the word hero, Shuck tried to deflect credit Tuesday.

But Robson and his family say Shuck had perfect timing.

"It might not have been another three or four minutes and we'd have been planning a funeral instead of planning a rebuild of his house," said Scott Robson, a Lawrence bail bondsman and George's son. "We're very thankful to Brad."

When a fire broke out at 1507 W. 27th St., Shuck was passing by, saw smoke and heard Robson's call for help. Shuck was able to safely pull the man from the smoke-filled home.

Medics took Robson to LMH, where doctors treated him for smoke inhalation. He wasn't burned. He and his wife, Ada Robson, an LMH nurse, will be staying with family until they find temporary housing.

Robson, retired after working for 40 years at area printing companies, suffers from a hereditary muscular disease, and he has to use a walker. On Monday morning, he said he heard a smoke alarm and smelled smoke in an office in his home. He shut the office door and called 911, but when Robson hung up the phone the smoke clouded his vision.

He was able to crawl to the front door when he heard a voice and eventually grabbed onto Shuck.

"I really appreciate it. It's good there are people like that. I think I'm a person like that. I would help anybody if I could," Robson said.

Shuck, who visited Robson at LMH Tuesday, said his actions were simple: Do the right thing. But he also hopes "people will forget about it here pretty soon."

"Actually, the best thing about this whole thing is my kids think I'm cool again," Shuck said. "I've probably got another two days I can milk that out."

According to Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical, the fire was accidental, and the home sustained an estimated $90,000 damage.

Fire Marshal Rich Barr said investigators suspect a piece of office equipment malfunctioned and ignited to start the fire, but officially the cause remains undetermined.

Barr said firefighters were also thankful Robson was rescued in time.

"This investigation could have been so much different," Barr said.

City Manager David Corliss said city leaders are planning how to honor Shuck. He expects an announcement later this week.

"His bravery and quick thinking prevented a tragedy," Corliss said.

- 6News reporter Lindsey Slater contributed to this report.

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