Father, son rescue neighbors from burning East Bakersfield home

Local News

A father and his high school son are being credited with helping to rescue people from a duplex fire over the weekend that left one man dead and a family displaced.

Shawn Newsom, a Bakersfield College professor, and his son Seth, a high school senior at East Bakersfield High School, insist they are just ordinary people who happened to be in the right place the right time.

The inferno torched the East Bakersfield duplex near College Ave. and Callientes St. just after 9:30 p.m. 
The elder Newsom said he was watching TV at his home across the street when he heard what appeared to be an explosion.

“We heard a loud blast,” he said. “We knew immediately that something was wrong because we could see flames flickering in our blinds. And right by my side was my son and he beat me across the street.”

A few seconds later, his son Seth made it to the home as it was burning. People were still inside.

“I started banging on the door and then a couple seconds I was banging again,” the high school senior said. “They then unlocked [the door] and I told them to come and I took them into the street right here.”

If not for seth and Shawn’s brave actions, the situation could have become even worse because “the fire was moving kind of fast,” according to Seth. “The fire wouldn’t get them, but probably the smoke would have.”

Asked whether each of them were heroes, they answered humbly.

“I’m just an old man running behind him across the street,” Shawn said. “[My son] got there first and was able to save those people, so I think Seth Newsom is the real hero.”

Seth had his own answer to the question.

“I don’t like seeing people die. I would rather save him even it cost my life,” the 18-year-old, soon-to-be Bakersfield College freshman said.

The identity of the man who died has not yet been released.

Because the home sustained serious damage, the woman and her two children and grandchild have not been able to return.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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