ALBION, Mich. (AP) -- Jessica Bates expects to give birth to twin girls any day now, but that didn't stop her from rushing to the aid of a neighbor in distress.

Just before midnight Saturday, Bates was in her living room watching her 2-year-old daughter and another child when she heard a cry for help.

Bates, 22, rushed across the street to an apartment, where flames were visible through a window. The woman who lived there, Barbara Wellman, is paralyzed from the waist down.

"I knew she was in a wheelchair, and that's why I was like, 'Oh my God,' " Bates told The Jackson Citizen-Patriot.




She found Wellman in the front part of the house and dragged her wheelchair by the foot pedals to the sidewalk. Bates then started banging on neighbors' doors, warning them to flee.

Another neighbor doused the flames with a garden hose before the fire department showed up to extinguish it.

The fire started in the kitchen, according to the Albion Department of Public Safety, and the cause is still under investigation. Damages were estimated at $5,000.

Wellman, 45, has lived for 20 years in the apartment. Neighbors said she wasn't seriously injured.

"I'm just so thankful that those two were there to save her," said Tronetta Weatherall, office assistant for the complex. "Her son came and got her, and she's staying with him until we can get repairs done."

Bates said she's always willing to aid those in need.

"I don't look at it as being a hero, I just looked at it like helping someone," she said. "I knew it was a risk to myself, but I couldn't leave her."

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