El Cerrito Woman Credited With Rescuing Lafayette Resident From House Fire

Sarah Falconer was working at a home in Lafayette Wednesday when she noticed a plume of smoke coming from a nearby house. What she did next impressed even hard-to-impress firefighters...


An El Cerrito woman working nearby when explosion and fire tore through a Lafayette home at 777 Moraga Road Wednesday reacted swiftly, and earned the instant recognition and respect of firefighting professionals who arrived behind her.

Dispatchers received a call for help at 1:31 p.m. Wednesday after neighbors in the 700 block of Moraga Road reported heavy, billowing smoke coming from the home at 777 Moraga Road.

Sarah Falconer, a 22-year-old graduate of and recent Stanford graduate, was working at an adjacent residence when she saw the smoke and heard a woman screaming. Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Battalion Chief "Morgan" Savacool said Falconer ran toward the residence, climbing a series of three fences -- one of them electrified -- and down a hill to assist two residents of the stricken home, one of whom had been badly burned.

"Sarah Bravely picked up a disabled resident and carried him from danger, taking him to arriving firefighters," Savacool said. Firefighter-paramedics treated the 71-year-old victim with advanced life support and transported him to a local hospital after it was determined he had suffered second and third degree burns to his face and hands.

The injured man's condition remains unknown as of this writing, but Savacool further said: "the heroic efforts of a Good Samaritan made the difference of life and death for the victim."

Fire crews from ConFire, the Moraga-Orinda Fire District and Walnut Creek quickly put down Wednesday's blaze, believed to have started when the homeowner lit a cigarette near a home oxygen supply, but still under investigation as to precise cause. 

Savacool said the 71-year-old man, an invalid, was removed from his home by a second resident, who got him just outside the residence and immediately began calling for help as the man's bedroom and a hallway in the residence continued to burn.

"There was heavy smoke coming from the home," Savacool said. "That's when Sarah arrived..."

Falconer was asked for comment regarding her role in Wednesday's rescue but demurred, citing respect for the privacy of the injured man's family. Her father, John Falconer, said when contacted Thursday: "As you may imagine, I am very proud of her and I believe she is quite appropriately humbly proud that she was able to help out."

Williefan4ever August 30, 2012 at 01:00 AM
What an amazing example of a Good Samaritan by Ms. Falconer; going over three separate fences! I hope the injured have a full recovery.
Crowley August 30, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Good for her. Glad she wasn't hurt in the process.
Ian Lipnicky (still a SportsFan) August 30, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Nice to see someone jump into help.
Brad Katkowsky August 30, 2012 at 01:44 PM
My kind of woman! Good on her for stepping up --- and jumping over those fences!!
John Falconer August 30, 2012 at 04:35 PM
We are very proud of you Sarah!
J.D. O'Connor (Editor) August 30, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Heart of a lion. She's got a fan base in Lafayette, that's for sure. If you're Sarah's dad, you raised her well.
Brad Katkowsky August 30, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Every reason to be proud of her. Nice work.
Nicholas August 30, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Very cool. Hope the injured man is ok.
Julie Vanoni August 30, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Wow! Sarah, what a courageous and selfless act. Rosa sent me the news; we are all very proud of you!!!
Bailey Lee August 30, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Hope he's learned finally to stop smoking also.
Bailey Lee August 30, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Stanford classes of 2012 and before are proud of you, Sarah!.
Lissa Sorensen August 30, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Smart, beautiful AND brave. Sigh... there are so few of us. ;-) Way to go!
Amy Chu September 01, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Clive Savacool September 11, 2012 at 05:39 AM
A very courageous accomplishment! There's no greater gift or more gratifying experience than saving another person's life.


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