When Arnold Boyd, Temple University’s Program Coordinator for Campus Organizations, left his office at 7 p.m. on April 3, he was thinking about what he was going to cook for dinner that night.
Minutes later, he and three other men were inside a burning building, frantically searching for an elderly woman trapped inside.
Boyd was walking to his car after work last Thursday when he saw a flicker of light in the basement window of a rowhome on the 1100 block of Jefferson Street.
“All of a sudden the basement caught afire like something blew up,” he said.
A woman then ran out of the house and screamed that her mother couldn’t walk and was trapped inside the house, he said.
“It was like ‘I have to go [in the house]’,” Boyd said. “I wasn’t thinking that the house was on fire. I was going out on faith.”
He ran over to the house, where three other men had gathered.
They ran inside and were confronted by thick smoke.
“The whole house was full of smoke,” he said.
“We were coughing and smoke was burning our eyes.”
Boyd said that they found the woman, who was about 80 years old, upstairs.
“The lady was heavy, she was dead weight,” he said.
The men took her by the arms and legs and began carrying her out of the house, but the smoke and the woman’s size slowed their movement.
“We couldn’t really see the way to the front door,” said Boyd.
They dropped the woman several times as they made their way to the door.
When they got outside, a police car had pulled up, and they carried the woman to it.
Fire engines were arriving, and Boyd got into his car to move it out of the way.
“I moved the car and I kept on going,” he said. “I didn’t go back for any glory, it wasn’t about that.”
“There are miracles in life…that motivate you and give you new insight into life. This gave me a renewed faith … I [helped] to save a life.
I’m just glad that I had a chance to help someone.”
Boyd said that he had never done anything like this before.
“You see it on television and in the newspaper, but it actually happened to me,” he said.
“I was in the right place at the right time.”
Brian White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.