Teen pulls elderly neighbor safely from burning barn - Quad-Cities Online: Iowa

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Teen pulls elderly neighbor safely from burning barn

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Posted: Sunday, September 6, 1998 1:00 am | Updated: 10:15 am, Tue Apr 22, 2014.

EARLHAM, Iowa (AP) -- Tim Hartman didn't think twice when he ran inside a blazing barn and pulled out his 93-year-old neighbor who had fallen and broken his hip.

``I think anybody else would have done the same thing,'' Hartman said. ``I'm glad I could help someone else out. That's what I've always done.''

The Earlham High School senior was on his usual drive to school Thursday morning when he saw smoke spewing from Willard Barnett's barn.

``I thought, `I'd better go down there and see if everything's all right,'' Hartman said. ``He's pretty old and things like that happen.''

Hartman, 17, saw that Willard had fallen while fueling his tractor.

``I said, `Let's get up and go,''' Hartman recalled. ``I wrapped my arms around him and I started dragging him.''

Pulling him chest to chest, Hartman managed to get Barnett 10 yards up a hill before the barn was engulfed in flames.

Hartman stood between the fire and Barnett to shield him from the intense heat. He talked to him to keep him calm. Minutes later, another neighbor arrived to help Barnett to his house.

Brian Duffy said his grandfather's vitality will help him recover quickly.

``Luckily, he's in great shape for his age, and that makes all the difference,'' Duffy said. ``It was just a good thing Tim came by when he did.''

Barnett's granddaughter, Kimberly Shaw, said the retired farmer hasn't slowed down with age.

``If he could be out there farming he would,'' Shaw said. ``He would prefer to be out there on that tractor.''

Barnett had used his tractor Thursday to mow the lawn for a family picnic.

Earlham fire officials said Barnett was filling his tractor with gasoline when he fell, spilling it on some hay.

Mike Golightly, chief of Earlham's volunteer fire department, said the gas might have been ignited because the engine of Barnett's tractor was hot from running.

The barn was destroyed; Barnett was recovering at Iowa Methodist Medical Center from hip surgery and first- and second-degree burns.

Hartman said his actions were simply his neighborly duty.

``I've lived (just down the road) since I was four,'' Hartman said. ``He's kind of been like my grandpa.''

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