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Easthampton man saves neighbor from house fire

One man is being hailed a hero after saving his neighbor who is confined to a wheelchair after fire engulfed his multi-family house Sunday night in Easthampton.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 4:30 PM EDT|Updated: May. 16, 2022 at 4:49 PM EDT
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EASTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - One man is being hailed a hero after saving his neighbor who is confined to a wheelchair after fire engulfed his multi-family house Sunday night in Easthampton.

Three families are without a home in after a fire broke at 97-99 East Street last night.

“Most of the flames were coming out of the lower level, so the basement door, I tried to get in there first. As soon as I got in there, the smoke, it was like I couldn’t see anything in there,” said Paul Galotti of Easthampton.

Galotti lives on East Street, across from the house where the fire broke out. He told Western Mass News that he quickly sprang into action to rescue a man in a wheelchair inside the burning house, ultimately saving his life.

“I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I was like ‘Anybody in there?’ and I wasn’t getting a response…I tried the basement again screaming and I heard a muffled voice ‘I need help, I’m in a wheelchair,” Galotti added.

Galotti told us he ran up to the road to check for first responders, but realized nobody was there yet to help. That’s when he took the courageous action.

“I realized he doesn’t have long in there, so I screamed down how far ‘Are you from the bottom of the stairs?’ and he said ‘I’m not far, I’m pretty close’ so I just put my shirt over my face and I went back down in there,” Galotti explained.

We spoke with Easthampton Fire Chief Chris Norris on Sunday. He told us there was significant smoke damage throughout the second and third floors of the building.

“This multi-family unit did have working smoke detectors and structure did not have any residential sprinklers in it,” Norris said.

All occupants were evacuated safely with no reported injuries and a GoFundMe has been set-up by Galotti to help the families displaced.

“They are going to need some support, so we should try as a neighborhood here and get them the support they need,” Galotti added.

The cause of the fire was revealed as careless disposal of smoking material, which was determined by state fire marshal, in partnership with the Easthampton Fire Department.