Passerby credited with saving 2 from burning Hartford home

Hartford, house fire
This Hartford home was destroyed in a fire, but no one was injured. (Dec. 5, 2017)


HARTFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Firefighters are crediting a fast-acting passerby with saving a woman and her 11-year-old son from their burning Van Buren County home.

The mother and son were sleeping Sunday night as the fire tore through their house in the 65000 block of Red Arrow Highway in Hartford, south of Bangor.

“I was across the street in this driveway because I dropped my daughter’s boyfriend off,” explained Nicole Burrows.

That’s when she noticed the house across the street was on fire.

“So, I run through (the screen) door,” said Burrows. “And there’s a door down there, and I’m just banging and kicking for the life of me and just yelling, just screaming.”

Burrows knew her son’s best friend lived in the house with his mother.

“And so finally she comes to the door, and I said, ‘Brenda, your house is on fire!’” Burrows recounted.

Brenda Rodriguez and her 11-year-old son escaped just as the fire engulfed their house.

“Yep, I woke (her) up,” said Burrows. “She said she was already in bed.”

Hartford Fire Chief Rob Harting told 24 Hour News 8 both Rodriguez and her son most likely would have died in the fire if it weren’t for Burrows’ actions.

“She just hugged me, gave me a big, old kiss on the forehead,” Burrows said of Rodriguez. “You know, I would have done it for anybody.”

Burrows said she didn’t stop to think about the dangerous situation.

“I think it was the adrenaline,” she said. “I think it was just that I knew she was in there with her son and I knew who was in there. I wanted to get them out.”

The fire chief said a faulty electrical connection to the family’s Christmas tree sparked the fire, which destroyed the house and everything inside.