Here's a scenario you don't expect to end well. A blind man, trapped upstairs by a fast moving fire in his Mesa town home.
Miraculously he survived, and we sat down with him at the Maricopa Medical Burn Center.
Jason Gilpin has been blind since he was 15 years old due to a shooting accident. Early Sunday evening, Gilpin smelled smoke, and knew he’d have to move quickly.
Gilpin couldn't see the smoke and fire engulfing his town home this weekend, but he could feel it.
“It was the scariest thing to be in there. I go left, I go right, there’s heat, there’s heat. I just, out the window you go, you know,” Gilpin recalls.
Out his upstairs bedroom window he climbed, and hung on to the outside bars, though flames were burning his skin.
His bandages attest to his harrowing escape.
“The front part here is burning from flames that were shooting out of the window when I was hanging and these parts are all burnt from holding on to hot cast iron,” he says.
We talked to Gilpin's neighbor the day of the fire.
“It was like out of a movie, fire whooshing up,” says neighbor Chris Hansen.
Hansen ran to help Gilpin.
“So I just told my wife to call 911 and ran over and made him jump because the whole house was just engulfed in flames,” Hansen says.
“He knew I was blind. Who walks out their front door and there’s two windows with flames coming out and a blind guy hanging there, you know?” says Gilpin.
Room for some humor now, and time for some reflection.
“Everything I’ve been working for 20 years is gone in an hour, but luckily I have insurance and everything. I’ll be fine, I’m healthy.”
More good news – Gilpin’s dog Buddy also survived the blaze.
Gilpin is a college admissions counselor for Rio Salado, and says he is looking forward to getting back to work.
He has second degree burns on his arms and legs, and hopes to be released from the burn center within the next several days.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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