From The Bay Area Citizen
by Dana Guthrie and Florian
A man who rushed to alert his neighbors to danger
despite being on fire himself has died from his injuries,
a local business owner reports.
Valerij Alyohin, 33, was a resident of the Emerald
Shores Apartments in El Lago, which caught fire on Saturday,
With his clothes on fire, Alyohin rushed from
one apartment to the next, helping his neighbors escape the
flames, which destroyed 36 apartment units.
He was the only person injured in the fire,
with burns covering 80 percent of his body.
Alyohin died from his injuries at about 5 p.m.
Sunday, March 13, said Rusty Cates, owner of Coffee Oasis
on NASA Road 1.
If it wasnt for Alyohin, Chris Williams
told The Citizen recently that he might not have made it out
of his apartment in time. He and his girlfriend were woken
up by Alyohin, who banged on everyones door after the
fire started in another neighbors apartment.
He woke us up at the last second,
Williams said. Williams had only time to get his girlfriend
and two of their three cats, before they jumped out of the
window on the second floor. He saved me and my girlfriends
Another resident, Lisa, who didnt want
to disclose her last name, said what is more important is
what her friend did Valerij Alyohin.
I call him Val the victory giant, because
he is so tall.
She said Val ran from door to door to warn residents,
even when he was on fire.
Lisa said he should be honored for what he did.
He' (was) a good guy and now he is a hero.
She said it took a lot of convincing from others
for him to finally jump in the pool to extinguish the fire,
because he wanted to warn as many people as possible.
Nearly 40 unites were destroyed in the fire
and more than 80 residents displaced. A small extemporaneous
memorial to Val was created around a tree planter next to
the complex's community pool and near where Val's apartment
unit was located. Photos of Val are prominently placed in
the complex's temporary office location.
KHOU-TV Coverage, February 26, 2011