Fatal fire victim’s neighbor tried to save him

Fatal fire victim’s neighbor tried to save him

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – DeWayne Westmoreland tried to save his next door neighbor, 74-year-old Gordon Coombs, during a fatal house fire on Graf Drive on Saturday night.

"There was nothing I could do, nothing I could do at that point," Westmoreland said. "We've been good friends ever since they've been here."

Coombs and his wife, Jo, have lived next door to Westmoreland for at least 10 years. Saturday, while Westmoreland and his wife were winding down for the evening, they heard banging at the door. It was Jo Coombs.

PREVIOUS STORY: One dead after overnight fire

"She said the house was on fire and she needed to get Gordon out," Westmoreland said. "I'm like, 'Oh wow.' I called 911 and she was already on the phone with 911. I ran over there and 911 was telling me to break open the window. They were telling her not to. I went with the advice I had. I took my hammer and busted open the window."

Westmoreland's efforts couldn't help, though.

"Black billowing smoke was just coming out, and flames," Westmoreland said.

Westmoreland said Jo was hysterical.

"She did tell me that he had some flames on his shoulder. She took a comforter and was putting it out, but she could not move him physically," Westmoreland said.

First-responders pronounced Coombs dead at the scene. He died of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.

Westmoreland is just devastated he couldn't help his friend.

"Nobody wants to be in that situation where they want to do, but can't do," he said.

Newcomer Funeral Homes is handling the arrangements for Coombs.

Copyright 2016 WAVE 3 News.  All Rights Reserved.