A retired man from Illinois lost his home and all his belongings when his RV caught fire on Sunday evening just after 7 p.m., as he exited Highway 52 at Pinnacle.
Randy Williams, assistant fire marshall in Stokes County, said Alan McCray's RV suffered “extensive damage” and it was a total loss. Williams said McCray was retired, and had sold everything he owned in order to travel around the country, so the loss of the RV meant the loss of his entire life, including his motorized wheelchair.
McCray's was safe, as well as his dog, thanks to the quick actions of a witness.
George Gray of Pilot Mountain said he was at the Marathon off of the Pinnacle exit on Highway 52 when he spotted an RV pulling in, with fire coming out from under the RV.
Gray said the individual driving the RV was unaware of the fire, so he ran over and banged on the window, trying to get him out. Gray said he told him his dog was in the RV, so Gray went inside and rescued the dog from the burning vehicle. Gray also attempted to extinguish the flames using a fire extinguisher and a blanket, but said he could not find a fire hose at the gas station, and the flames were spreading.
Stokes County fire departments soon arrived on the scene. Williams said it took around 30 minutes for the fire departments to extinguish the fire, including departments from Pinnacle, King, Shoals, and Double Creek.
Gray said he posted pictures of the fire on Facebook, and people in the community immediately reached out, wanting to know how they could help. Several of Gray's friends donated items, including money, clothing, dog food, and a blanket.
Alan McCray is being assisted by the Red Cross and is staying at the Econo Lodge in Pilot Mountain until he can make further plans.
Many are calling George Gray a hero after he helped McCray and his dog. Gray also sat with McCray after the fire department left, to assure he got help from a friend who drove from the Raleigh area.
“People said, 'you are a hero,' but you just don't think about that when you are doing it. That thing could have blown, but you don't think about that. He needed help and I was there,” Gray said.