Trisha Kay Zertuche says she was on the cusp of passing out from a combination of smoke inhalation and an asthma attack when Beeville Fire Chief Bill Burris reached her on the floor of her burning home.
“I was falling to the ground, and I just looked up and there he was,” Zertuche said.
Chief Burris went directly to Zertuche’s house on December 9 after the emergency call came in around 5:00 p.m. He didn’t have a fire suit or an oxygen mask, but after getting word that a woman was inside, Burris went into the home anyway.
“All you want to do is get the people out,” Chief Burris said. “That’s what we do.”
He crawled on his hands and knees to avoid as much smoke as possible. Once outside of the home with Zertuche, medical workers evaluated both of them. She would spend two and a half days in the hospital, but Chief Burris only needed a quick breathing treatment. He’s humble when talking about his efforts.
“I don’t consider myself a hero,” he said. “I’m glad I got her out, and I’m glad I was there at the time.”
Zertuche is glad too. She says Chief Burris saved her life.
“There were a lot of brave men that day,” she said through tears. “They did whatever they needed to do to make sure I was OK and my house was OK. I’m very thankful.”