An Incidental Hero: Garen Kissoyan Recalls Saving an Elderly Woman from a Burning House

High school senior Karen Kissoyan on NBC Bay Area News

Just like out of a movie, on March 19, three high school seniors saved a 94-year-old woman and her 18 year old deaf and partly blind dog from a burning home. Garen Kissoyan, Peter Kravariotis, and Kirill Yantikov all attend the California High School in San Ramon, and on that Monday morning, they decided to skip class at around 10 a.m. Luckily, they passed by a burning house and decided to intervene.

Recently, Kissoyan’s close family friend, Meghety Manoyan, visited San Ramon and sat down to talk about him about his surreal experience. Manoyan is a 9th grader at the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manougian Armenian School.

At the conclusion of the interview Kissoyan said that this was a crazy experience, and that he’d probably do it again if he saw another house on fire or if someone needed help.

Garen Kissoyan (left), Peter Kravariotis (center), and Kirill Yantikov (right) with Steve Harvey at a taping of the Steve Harvey Show in Chicago

The young men’s bravery has attracted media attention and the three friends have been featured on NBC News, The Washington Times, New York Daily News and other outlets. This story even caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres.

The three just returned from Chicago where they taped a segment to be aired later this month on The Steve Harvey Show.

Below is the complete interview:

What were the conditions inside the house?

GAREN KISSOYAN: There was black smoke pouring out of every hole in the house and there was fire around us everywhere that we stepped. We couldn’t breathe; we had our faces covered with our shirts, and we still couldn’t breathe. Our eyes were burning and we couldn’t see because of the smoke, which was all around us. We picked the woman up in her chair and took her and her dog out.

M.M.: Why did you decide to help instead of just letting firemen take care of the situation?
G.K.: When we first saw the smoke, we just figured let’s go see what’s going on, thinking it would be cool to see a house burning. We went and found the house and saw that there was no one outside. Literally, no neighbors, no one at all, and the fire had just started. We just figured they needed help, so we helped them.

M.M.: What was your punishment?
G.K: We got 4 hours of service for our sports medicine class, which is the class that we left.

M.M.: Why did you decide to ditch?

G.K.: We wanted food, we wanted McDonald’s. We were very hungry.

M.M.: What did your parents think about this?

G.K.: My parents were upset that we ditched, but they were very happy with us because we did something heroic. They were happy with the fame that we were getting and happy that

M.M.: How did you manage to see inside the burning house?

G.K.: The flames were basically giving us light inside the house. The black smoke was very overwhelming, we could still see through it, but mostly because the flames were providing light inside the house.

M.M.: Weren’t you scared when you entered the house?

G.K.: Ever since the beginning it was all instinct, so we didn’t know what we were doing, we weren’t even thinking. We could have easily gotten hurt, but we just did what our body told us to do. We just saved the lady that way, honestly.

M.M.: Did you guys expect to get so much attention from media?

G.K.: We did not honestly. We went back to school that same day, and we expected our classmates to say something about it and be happy about it. But we didn’t expect the whole school to hear about it, for news to hear about it, and for us to become so called heroes.


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