SC man runs to help 3 neighbors, dies in fire - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

SC man runs to help 3 neighbors, dies in fire

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SUMTER, S.C. (AP/WIS) - A Sumter man has died after he ran into a burning home to save a family member and two neighbors.

Carolyn Johnson says her husband George "Andy" Johnson told her he had to save her 95-year-old aunt when he ran into the burning home next door around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The Sumter County Sheriff's Office says deputies found the home engulfed in flames. They found Wessie Johnson hanging from a rear window and two other residents who had escaped through a front window.

"When I went there, she told me she said... get me out here before I burn up," said neighbor Willer Wright. "And I tried, but I couldn't do nothing because I was so nervous."

Deputies found George Johnson on the floor and said that he apparently had lifted the elderly woman to the window. He was taken to the local hospital, where he died of smoke inhalation.

"I think he done a wonderful job," said Jimmy Wright, the rescued woman's nephew. "Yep. He saved three people. He's a hero. He'll always be a hero. And right now he's up in heaven getting his reward."

Fire investigators have not determined an official cause.

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