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Neighbor saves woman as house burns
Wednesday blaze destroys Hunters Pointe home
Statesboro Fire

A Statesboro family lost a home to fire Wednesday night, but fast-acting neighbors saved a woman's life.

Vinny Castellano saw smoke coming from his neighbor's home on Brittany Lane in Hunters Pointe subdivision at around 8 p.m. Wednesday, and both he and a man he knew only by the name "Rusty" kicked in the doors and rescued one of the home owners.

Les Kicklighter told Statesboro firefighters he had been "doing some grinding" in his garage, then left home briefly, Statesboro Fire Chief Tim Grams said. "We believe the fire started in the garage area."

His wife, Kathy, was asleep inside, Castellano said.
The Kicklighters told him afterward that Kathy Kicklighter was ill, and she did not hear the doorbell. Castellano said he and the other man kicked in the door in and yelled to see whether anyone was inside, and Kathy Kicklighter called out.

"Thank God we kicked the door down," Castellano said. "If it was my mother I'd want someone to check (beyond ringing the doorbell)."

Statesboro and Bulloch County firefighters responded after receiving the 8 p.m. call, but the home was fully engulfed by the time of arrival, Grams said. "We did the best we could" but they were unable to save the home.

No one was injured in the fire.

Castellano said he wishes he had gotten the other man's last name.

"Rusty had just as much to do with (the rescue) as I did," he said. "We had to kick that door down and it was a lot of kicking."

The actual cause of the fire has yet to be determined, Grams said.

Harry Walker, a spokesman for the American Red Cross in Bulloch County, said the Kicklighters were provided funds for clothing, food and shoes and stayed the night with a family member. They were offered assistance with shelter if they need it.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.