Teen saves grandmother who caught on fire after smoking while using oxygen tank

Posted at 7:32 AM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 07:32:30-04

PARMA HEIGHTS, OHIO - A 13-year-old Ohio boy is being hailed a hero for his quick actions that prevented a potential house explosion and saved the life of his grandmother.

Dianne Bungo, 75, was smoking with her oxygen tubing around her nose when a fire ignited Monday around 3:30 p.m., according to firefighters.

"She was in the kitchen saying like, 'Help me!' She didn't say she was burning," Timothy Iwan told WJW.

Timothy was the only person at home with Bungo when the fire began. His mother, Michelle Iwan, said she left Timothy at home to pick up his siblings from school. She said she was gone for less than 20 minutes when she arrived home to disaster.

"The fire went from her, down to the oxygen tube and he, I wasn't home, he ran downstairs and unplugged the oxygen machine, undid the tub and started putting out the fire on her and on the house," Iwan said.

"I probably wouldn't have done what he did," she said. "I probably would have panicked and he didn't."

Timothy said he knew if he didn't turn off the oxygen machine things would get even worse.

"Everything that she's got on her, her shirt is burning down," Timothy said. "I rush to get water, I just grabbed a bowl as I'm shaking. I'm dumping water all on her shirt, there's still fire."

Timothy was in class Tuesday and didn't believe his actions were worthy of an interview. Firefighters who responded to the scene said his actions are worthy of praise.

"What he did is very courageous and we don't really see people, some people are sometimes scared to take action, but he stepped up and he did it," said Parma Heights firefighter Mike Alvarado.

Iwan said her mother was severely burned, but is awaiting further details from doctors about a prognosis. One thing she is sure of is her mother has a chance as recovery thanks to the bravery of Timothy.

"You saved grandma, your house and your life," said Iwan just before giving her son a kiss on the head.