It cannot be overstated how deadly raging fires can be. Besides the obvious danger of being burned, smoke inhalation can affect us far greater and faster than most people realize. Not only that, but the speed with which fires burn can surprise with truly tragic consequences.
But when there is a life on the line, there will always be some brave individuals, that will ignore all danger for them, their own lives mean little in the face of another’s death.
Tristan Reding was driving his car when he spotted a tornado of flames.
On August 3rd, 2015, then-18-year-old Tristan Reding was driving near Skyview High School, in Nanpa, ID, at around 9 PM. That was when he spotted a home engulfed by a tornado of flames.
“When I came up on it there was flames flying, probably like 100ft in the air,” Reding told USA Today.
Reding arrived before the fire trucks, and it was not immediately clear whether the building was fully evacuated. So the ever-selfless Reding decided to check for himself.
“I just wanted to make sure everybody was out and safe,” Reding told USA Today.
But as he ran to the back of the house, he heard two distinct explosions which came from the occupants’ two oxygen tanks.
The pressure was on—if Reding mounted a daring rescue, it could mean his life.
That was not all he heard, though.
After the explosions, Reding heard the blood-chilling sound of a person’s screams; there was someone still trapped inside—a woman, bound by a wheelchair.
From there he had a choice and a good vantage point to make it: stay outside and wait in safety, or brave the fierce flames and attempt a dangerous rescue.
He barely hesitated.
“I jumped the fence, I kicked in the back door,” Reding told USA Today.
Inside, Reding could not see anything—but the woman’s screams helped lead him to her.
The fire was so devastating and the smoke so thick, that Reding could not see anything when he entered the home. The only thing that drove him forward was the screams of the trapped and injured woman.
“When I found her hair was singed, and her arms were burnt up,” “Every time I picked her up she screamed ‘cause it hurt so bad. She just kept saying, ‘help me, help me, get me outta here.’ And I got her out.”
But despite his heroism, Reding wasn’t finished.
Once the woman was safely outside her burning home, the brave young man fought through the flames and smoke again; this time to retrieve the woman’s wheelchair.
“You saved somebody’s life today.”
Once he was out the second time, neighbors then assisted Reding with getting the woman to safety. But by that point firefighters had arrived. Needless to say, they were amazed at what this young man had done.
“Firefighters were all giving me handshakes,” Reding told USA Today. “And they’re like, ‘you saved somebody’s life today.’ It just didn’t feel real.”
Reding was a hero, but, of course, he didn’t consider himself as such. Instead, his father gave a much better explanation of the workings of his incredible son’s mind.
“He’ll give you the shirt off his back, he’s just that kind of kid,” Reding’s father told USA Today. “He just did what he thought he should have done.”