Neighbor becomes hero in storm rescue - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Neighbor becomes hero in storm rescue

by Jeff Ferrell

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A neighbor turned into a hero during Saturday's stormy weather in Shreveport, as remnants of Hurricane Ike wreaked havoc.  A falling tree crushed a house with a family inside, which included a 2-year old child.

Medics took the little 2-year old girl named "Naomi" to the hospital, accompanied by her mother, just to make sure she only suffered some scrapes and bruises after that huge oak tree flattened their house in the 15-hundred block of Cornwell Avenue in Shreveport's Highland neighborhood.  "All three of us were in there sleeping when we heard a big boom and the roof came in," said Steven Lawson, a friend of Naomi's mother.

And just moments after the tree had fallen over and crushed the house next to it, it was a next door neighbor who came to the rescue and helped save the little girl inside the house.  That neighbor, Chris Gates, showed us where he stood along his fence when the tree fell.

In fact, during our conversation with Gates, he spontaneously acted out the events saying, "crack, crack, crack.  And I dove.  And that's where you see my body print."  Gates then described how his former days as a Colorado skiing EMT kicked-in.  "The minute I saw that tree come down I only knew of one thing:  Go around the corner and help."

Lawson recounted the next door neighbors' next actions telling us, "he (Gates) actually came to the back window, he had to find a way in, broke the back window with an ax."  Actually, Gates said that was no ax.  He used his foot after hearing Naomi's mother inside the house.  "I heard somebody scream, 'get my baby!"

Gates did just that.  Only later did someone tell Gates he was hurt.  "One of 'em looks down and says, 'you're bleeding.'  I go, 'really?'  And I look down and see squirt, squirt, squirt."  No trip to the hospital for Gates; just a bandage and a good feeling he could help.
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