BALTIMORE — In the aftermath of Monday night's fire on North Rose Street in Southeast Baltimore, you could see its impact, but Desiree Peterkin experienced it first hand when she got ready to evacuate from her home and reached her back door.
"The flames were too hot. It just... it stopped me dead in my tracks," said Peterkin.
At that point, no one realized a 77-year-old woman remained inside this home where the fire started.
"She was going to exit, but the pets were in the house so she went back... turned around and went back in to try to grab the pets---the dogs and the cats, and she was overwhelmed with the smoke or the heat," said Arch McKown.
Video shows her neighbor, 57-year-old Pierre Gibbons, sprinting across the street and into the burning home to save her.
"She was down in the basement and he found her and brought her up, but then he was overcome apparently by the smoke and the heat and the flames," said McKown.
"When the firefighter/EMTs found them, they had made it up to the main level and he was on top of her," added Peterkin.
Gibbons' heroics left him with third-degree burns covering a majority of his body and complications from smoke inhalation.
Neighbors estimate he may have been inside the burning home for half an hour before firefighters could reach him and his elderly neighbor.
Friends have started a GoFundMe account to help with his medical bills, which has already drawn more than 200 donors, after his selfless, but predictable act.
"I think he would have done that for anyone of us," said Peterkin.
"I've known Pierre for a long time, and he is just that guy," said McKown.
For a link to his GoFundMe, click here.