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Skiatook strangers save veteran from house fire

Skiatook veteran's home destroyed in fire
Posted at 9:27 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 00:01:09-05

SKIATOOK, Okla. — 90-year-old Korean War veteran, Charles "Buddy" Griggs of Skiatook, Okla., escaped his burning home in the nick of time Tuesday morning. Luckily, a few strangers arrived to provide warmth while they waited for emergency crews.

Buddy told 2 Works for You he took a nap during a power outage. Later, he said the power turned back on and he heard an explosion.

"Boom," Buddy said. "I've never heard it that loud."

Buddy said smoke started to form and rise inside his home. He said he ran to escape, kicked open his front door and fell in the snow outside.

"I stumbled and fell, because I about half choked up everything," he said. "I just started crawling."

Buddy dragged himself in just a t-shirt and jeans to the street. Soon, he said a truck pulled up and three strangers jumped out to help him.

"Who knows what would've happened to him," Josh Taylor said. "I'm glad we showed up when we did."

Taylor and his friends, James and Danielle Clack, saw the plume of smoke from miles away and made the split-decision to turn around and follow it.

Minutes later, they arrived at the fire to see Buddy struggling in the middle of the street.

"I put him in the hot truck and got him out of the road there," James Clack said. "Wrapped him up in a blanket."

Buddy recovered from the chilling temperatures and is now safely staying with family.

The Korean War vet lost his home, but thanks to the trio, Buddy lives to fight on. Sometimes even a soldier needs saving.

"We’re not the heroes. That guy sitting down over there is the hero," Taylor said. "We were just doing our jobs as human beings.”

“They were all worried about my heart, you know, they said, ‘You’ve got a bad heart,’ and I said ‘if I’ve got a weak heart then why am I not dead?’” Buddy said.

Buddy told 2 Works for You it was possibly a gas explosion that started the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The Skiatook Chief of Police took to Facebook Wednesday to personally thank Taylor and both James and Danielle Clack for helping save Buddy's life.

Gondles-Butler VFW Post 7977 is accepting any donations for Buddy.

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