OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – When a man driving along 122nd Street in Oklahoma City saw a backyard on fire, he not only called 911, he also rushed in to fight the fire. He first banged on the door – the family inside had no idea the flames were inching their way to their home.
“I heard somebody banging, like the police at my door. And so when I opened the door, it was the gentleman, Blaine, and he said, ‘Do you know your house is on fire?’ I said, ‘What?!'” Paulette Gregg said. “You know, you’re just in a state of shock, you don’t know what’s going on, so when I ran out here, my whole backyard was on fire, the back field was on fire.”
Good Samaritan Blaine Wiedenmann just happened to be driving by, and he was just the right person to help. Paulette’s hose faucet was broken. Blaine owns a pool and home improvement company called A La Casa, and he knows a thing or two about water and wrenches.
“I’ve never had a nozzle or anything on it. And that man turned it on, boop, boop! Before you know it, it was on and it was spraying,” Paulette said. “I went and got buckets to try to help out with the fire. I had this rug out because I was cleaning it and he was like, ‘Can I use your rug?’ And I was like, ‘Yes, you can! You can do whatever you need!'”
“So, he used the rug to try to keep the fire from going to the gas line because it was barely a few feet from the gas line, and as you can see, it’s barely a few feet from my house,” Paulette told KFOR’s Heather Holeman. “I couldn’t thank him enough because we could have been dead in here in seconds just by it hitting the gas line.”
The very day of the fire, Paulette nominated Blaine for a $400 Pay It 4Ward award from First Fidelity Bank. Adam Kelley presented the money to Paulette.
“His actions not only saved lives, but they saved your property as well. And because of that, on behalf of First Fidelity Bank, it’s my honor to present this $400 to him as a token of our appreciation,” Adam said.
Paulette invited Blaine back to her home, while our KFOR News crew hid in the kitchen. Paulette only told Blaine she had a surprise for him.
“Hi, Blaine, I’m Heather Holeman with Channel 4,” Heather announced as they made their way to the living room. “We have a program called Pay It 4ward, where we honor people who do great things in the community. You were nominated by Paulette and she has a gift for you.”
“On behalf of First Fidelity Bank, I wanted to present you $400 for saving my family,” Paulette said.
Blaine hugged Paulette and said, “Wow, thank you very much. That’s so kind.”
Paulette said, “You didn’t have to and I appreciate you.”
“I live in the neighborhood and I felt like, I saw something, I wanted to do something,” Blaine said, realizing he put his own safety at risk while fighting the fire.
“Yeah, the gas line and primarily the big cedar tree out there. It’s such a big fire hazard, and with it being so dry, and if the flames hit that, I knew that would explode,” Blaine said. “I don’t generally knock on neighbors’ doors and jump fences, but just something took over and told me that I needed to do that right then.”
OG&E crews replaced some electrical lines, and cut down trees surrounding the transformer where the fire started. Paulette says the workers told her a squirrel most likely caused the blaze, which turned two strangers into lifelong friends.
“Words can’t even explain, honestly. He’s a loving, caring person, he’s a hero to me. Because we could’ve been dead,” Paulette said as grateful tears rolled down her cheeks.
“This is unbelievable,” Blaine said. Paulette replied, “I’m glad I was able to bless you.”
LOOKING OUT 4 YOU: Paulette had no working smoke detectors in her house. The Oklahoma City Fire Department provides and installs free smoke detectors for all Oklahoma City property owners. Landlords are legally required to provide working smoke detectors for renters. Call 405-316-beep (2337) or click here for more information.
Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.