Lee Davis and Carlton Sanders tried, but could not reach Logan Michael Davenport when the 18-year-old autistic teen’s home in Martinez erupted in flames Friday morning.
Davenport later died at Doctors Hospital of smoke inhalation, Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said.
“It’s tragic,” Sanders, a next-door neighbor, said of the fire. “We’re all praying for the family.”
Columbia County Fire Rescue spokesman Jeremy Wallen said when firefighters arrived at the home at 454 Amelia Drive about 7:45 a.m, the fire was “through the roof.”
Firefighters searched the home and found Davenport. His mother, Sheree Davenport, had escaped and called 911. Davis and Sanders helped get her wheelchair-bound father, Larry Janelle, 63, out of the house.
Sheree Davenport was taken to Doctors Hospital for smoke inhalation, Collins said.
“The smoke took us over,” said Davis, who lives across the street. “There were flames shooting up the walls. We had no choice but to get out before we could get the boy.”
Davis said he thought the fireplace was going when he initially looked out his front window. Then he said he saw the garage catch fire and black smoke coming from the rooftop.
Sanders said he was on his back porch having his morning coffee when he first noticed the fire. He ran to the front of the home, where he and Davis crawled through the hallway into the den and dragged out Janelle.
“The mother was outside hollering to get her son and father,” Davis said. “We did what we could. It’s unfortunate not everyone made it out OK.”
Davis said Janelle, a retired contractor, has lived in the house 15 years and that Sheree Davenport moved from Hartwell, Ga., eight months ago to care for her father, who was diagnosed with a degenerative bone disease.
Wallen said that it will likely take fire officials a few days to determine the cause and origin of the fire.
The American Red Cross has contacted the family, neighbors said.
“They are very friendly, down-to-earth people,” Davis said. “We are going to do everything we can to help the family.”