3 awarded in honor after saving couple from Opelousas burning home

Photo: KLFY

Three men are being called heroes after saving a couple from a burning home in Opelousas.

Tuesday morning, St. Landry Parish Fire District 3 held an awards ceremony in their honor.

The house caught on fire in the attic area while Leslie and Cindy Balthazar were taking a nap after a long day. The Balthazars said they are just grateful to be alive.

“We just got out alive and our animals. I mean it could have been so much worse. The Fire Marshal says 20 minutes give or take, we wouldn’t be here,” says Cindy Balthazar.

It was a team effort rescuing the Balthazars from their burning home. Three strangers; Nick Degueyter, Tyler Quirk and 15-year-old Connor Manuel just happened to be in the area when they saw smoke coming from the roof of the home. Degueyter says he knocked on the door, but no one answered. Once Degueyter entered the home, he was shocked to see the Balthazars still inside. “I went in and when I came around the corner they were started to come out the bedrooms. It was almost like a heart dropping experience because to know, I mean material things are one thing. But life, when you see somebody actually in there, it gives you the chills.” Degueyter and the other two men guided the couple to safety.

The Balthazars have lived in this home for 10 years and they just completed $20,000 worth of remodeling just two months ago. While the exterior of the home appeared to be in good shape, the interior will need to be re-done.

Cindy says they’re just thankful the men they now call their heroes were there at the right time. “God sent those people there. I mean I know this. I mean I get goose bumps. I call them God bumps. It truly was a blessing,” says Balthazar.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Clothing and appliances for the Balthazar family can be donated to St. Landry Parish Fire District 3 located at 887 Highway 749 in Opelousas.

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