In today’s episode of This Hits Different, Shelby Cassesse tells the story of Falon O'Regan, a local football player who saved his neighbors during an apartment fire.
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Local football player saves neighbors during apartment fire
Just before 1 a.m. last Tuesday, 17-year-old Falon O'Regan was just getting ready to head to bed.
“I look out my front door… and I just see my porch,” he said. “So, I just walked out my room, I got to the front, open the door and I just get engulfed in flames.”
His four-unit apartment complex in Bentleyville was burning quickly, the front exit no longer an option. He grabbed his keys and wallet and got out through a back window.
Knowing many of his neighbors were likely trapped inside on the second floor. He and another neighbor who escaped knew they needed to act quickly.
“My neighbor said, ‘why don’t we grab a blanket and try,’” he said. “I just thought of a bigger blanket, and that was a trampoline.”
Falon, a senior football player at Bentworth, grabbed the trampoline from their yard and set it against the side of the building, pleading with his neighbors to jump as fire engulfed their homes.
“They refused to jump,” he said. “The kids just kept saying to take care of the dogs.”
In that moment, Falon called his mother Becky Williams, who was at work when the fire started.
“He called me, hysterical,” Becky said. “I could hear him saying ‘just jump, just jump.’ I ran out of work and came home.”
But firefighters say as they got to the scene, they saw people leaping from windows, hitting the trampoline below. Falon says he helped two adults, two kids and their pets down from the second floor. Three people were taken to the hospital that night. Some, including Becky and Falon lost beloved pets. Everyone else got out, but don't expect this humble hero to take much credit.
“I mean, if they’re saying that, I guess it is,” he said. “But I don’t feel heroic.”
However, Williams says it's no surprise her kid thought to lend a helping hand even in the most chaotic circumstance.
“I’m extremely proud of him and grateful that he helped get everybody out,” she said.
Still, Becky, Falon and their neighbors are now trying to figure out how to move forward after losing everything.
“All my clothes, my kids clothes, my TVs, the entertainment center, pictures, everything,” she said.
The family has set up a Go-Fund-Me to get back on their feet, but even in their greatest time of need, Falon is thinking of others.
“If we get extra money, then I’m going to use it to help my neighbors too,” he said. “Because they lost everything, too.”