A 90-year-old World War II veteran who pulled his wife to safety in her wheelchair from their burning North Carolina home said recently he doesn’t think he is a hero and was only doing what anyone else would have, given the same situation.
Arthur Schneider, and his wife of 68 years, Rosemary Schneider, were in the back bedroom of their Asheboro home on Aug. 6 when lightning is believed to have struck a transformer outside, ABC News reports.
Rosemary, 89, reportedly has Parkinson’s disease and dementia and must use a wheelchair to get around.
“And I was in there with her, tending to her,” Arthur told ABC. “And all of a sudden there's this bolt of lightning, and I think the lightning must have hit the power in the house and blew the power out.”
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Schneider left the room to investigate why the power was out and while he was in another part of the house discovered the home was on fire. He told the NY Daily News he could hear the smoke alarms in the house buzzing and that the smoke was so bad he couldn’t see his hand in front of his face.
“I had to go back and get her,” Arthur said of his wife. “She’s part of me.”
He pulled his wife’s wheelchair through the house and out onto a porch. After that, Schneider ran across his yard to a neighbor to ask for help getting his wife’s wheelchair down the steps of the porch.
That yard is “the size of a football field” according to Schneider’s daughter, Bernadette Such, who lives a few miles away. She told NY Daily News she had no idea how her father made the run across the yard without his cane. He suffers from a “terrible limp,” she said.
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But Arthur had an explanation.
“I guess God gives us a little strength when we need it,” he told ABC News.
The neighbor called 911 for the fire then went to the house to help get Rosemary off the porch.
The fire destroyed about the half the house. The family believes the lightning strike sparked the fire, but that has not been confirmed by the fire department.
The couple is currently living with Such, who told NY Daily News her father has cared for her mother for the last few years by helping feed and bathe her. He even moved her hospital-style bed into their bedroom so they could sleep next to each.
“It’s a good marriage,” Arthur said. “When you live together and you love somebody, you can’t afford to lose it.”