Man Saved By Teen Trying To Fight Back Pawnee County Fire


Saturday, August 13th 2011, 6:33 pm
By: News On 6


Lacie Lowry, News On 6

PAWNEE COUNTY, Oklahoma -- A Green Country family met the hero neighbor Saturday who saved their loved one.

Last weekend, wildfires in Terlton burned down more than 30 homes. One of those belonged to a man who was trying to protect his property -- when he collapsed in the fire.

08/07/2011 Related Story: At Least A Dozen Homes, Structures Destroyed In Pawnee County Wildfire

Earl Hilton is in the Hillcrest Burn Unit after suffering 2nd and 3rd degree burns in a wildfire on August 7th.

He's in pain, but alive because of a 16-year-old boy.

Charred earth is all that is left of the property Earl Hilton worked so hard to protect.

Some of his children and grand kids are checking out what the grassfire left behind. But the real reason they came to Hilton's land is to meet 16-year-old Dustin Hopper.

The 76-year-old Air force veteran stayed on his land -- hoping to save everything he owned from the fire that already destroyed his storage shed.

Hopper came and offered Hilton some water -- and that's when Hilton started stumbling around.

"His yard was burning and he fell into it and just fell down. I mean he was standing there with sandals, one sandal on, one sandal off, standing in the fire," Hopper said.

Dustin and his mother acted fast, tracking down help and pulling Hilton -- a man they didn't even know -- out of the flames.

"I'm afraid if he would have been here any longer, it wouldn't have been good," Hopper said.

Hilton was flown to Tulsa with severe burns on his back and legs.

"He pulled my dad out of the fire… If it wasn't for him, he wouldn't be here," said Kenny Hilton, Earl Hilton's Son.

Hilton's son says he loves his family -- six kids, twelve grand kids and a great-grandchild. Dustin says he just did what neighbors do and hopes someone would do it for his family, too.

"This is just property and its material - that can be replaced. A human life cannot," Kenny Hilton said.

Earl Hilton is still on a ventilator and has had skin grafts. Dustin Hopper hopes to meet Hilton one day soon.