BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Hailed a hero. One year ago, a local man ran into a burning home to save his elderly neighbor trapped inside.

For that act of valor, he’s now a recipient of a prestigious award for heroism

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With deep appreciation, Pierre Gibbons reflected on the past year.

“Had I been in another city, I wouldn’t have been here,” Gibbons told WJZ. “[An] instinctual thing. There wasn’t time to think about it. It wasn’t will I or won’t I.”

He and his neighbor got pulled out by firefighters, and Gibbons was severely burned, fighting for his life for weeks.

Gibbons was bedridden for nine months, but now he’s home, and one of the newest recipients of the Carnegie Award for Heroism.


“I never felt like a hero, you know,” Gibbons said. “I always felt like I’m just your average guy.”

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To this day, Gibbons said the real heroes are service members, police and firemen- like the ones who rescued him.

“Which is [the fire department] and the other heroes in my book are the people who put me back together at Johns Hopkins Bayview,” Gibbons said.

Recovering is still a trial- in-home care, physical and occupational therapy. But Gibbons is fighting through it. Still, one year later.

“I feel like I’m getting better, progressing every day,” he said. “Makes me feel better every day, gives me hope for the day.”

Gibbons said his children and grandchildren keep him going, and the occasional beer with his friend, Dan.

“I’m just thankful,” Gibbons said. “I think I died three times, so I’m just grateful to be alive.”

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In-home care for Gibbons is expensive. Now that he’s home, the family is still trying to finance the help he needs. They said some grant money from the award will go toward that, but they have set up another GoFundMe to help pay for the care he’ll need for years to come.

Rachael Cardin