ARC to the rescue

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Bakersfield ARC workers save women from house fire.

by Abby Tomlinson –

Elray Hunter and Adam Howard

To Elray Hunter and Adam Howard it was a normal day on their pickup route in Bakersfield, Calif. Elray, a graduate of the ARC program and Salvation Army truck driver for the past three years, and Adam, a current beneficiary of the program, were halfway through their route when they noticed smoke pouring out of a house. Rushing to the dwelling, Elray grabbed a hose from outside and began spraying water through an open window, while Adam went inside to check for occupants. Adam recalled that the smoke was so thick he could barely see through it. “People were screaming inside and I just followed the voices to get to them.”

Inside they found an 83-year-old woman, paralyzed and in a wheelchair, her daughter who had accidentally started the fire with her lit cigarette, and a young girl. Adam pulled the three women safely from the burning house, while Elray extinguished the flames with the hose just as the fire department arrived; the fire had damaged two rooms. The women were grateful that Adam and Elray had saved them from a potentially deadly disaster.

The Bakersfield ARC is proud of the courage Adam and Elray displayed. Adam believes it was an action people should take for their neighbors. “I would expect if that had been my family, anyone else would do the same thing for us.”

Elray credits the grace and power of God for allowing them to be present that afternoon to help the women escape the tragedy. “God puts us where we’re supposed to be. He wanted us to be there.”

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