Neighbor deemed hero after apartment fire

Man throws rocks at window to alert neighbor

HOUSTON - An early morning fire Saturday at the Sundance Apartments destroyed an entire unit of apartment homes, but because of the fast action response of one of the residents, a major tragedy was avoided.

A mattress fire that began in a first floor apartment quickly spread to surrounding units, prompting John Bylsma to rush into action. First he rushed to the source of the fire and saw the flames and knew there was no chance of putting out the fire.

"When I opened the door to see what the problem was there was a mattress on the floor that was flaming as high as the ceiling, she was panicking and I knew there was no time to try and put it out, there was still people upstairs that didn't even know there was a fire," Bylsma said.

"I ran out and I ran upstairs and started banging on their door and the smoke just got too thick, so I had to come back down and I started throwing rocks through their windows and I got them to come to their window finally," Bylsma said.

Bylsma alerted Shevika Jackson and her family who lived directly above the unit that caught fire. Then he rushed to the next apartment over where a woman was trapped with her two small children.

"We finally got her to the window and got her to drop the babies down to me and then she jumped and we all got out of here just in the nick of time," Bylsma said.

All four of the apartments in the unit at Sundance were either damaged or destroyed, but fortunately no serious injuries were reported.

"We're all here to talk about it and that's all that matters," Bylsma said.

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