DALLAS -- A 79-year-old Dallas man is clinging to life at Parkland Memorial Hospital after he got trapped inside his burning home early Tuesday morning.
Dallas Fire Investigators still do not know what caused the raging fire at a single story home in the 1900 block of Gallagher Street in west Dallas.
They do know the home is a total loss.
Dallas Fire Rescue got the call around 3:30 a.m. to find the house resembling a ball of fire. The back end was fully engulfed in flames, and the rest of the house was full of black smoke.
Dallas Fire Rescue Captain Tom Gamez said the minute he arrived, he knew he was in for a rescue.
The wife of the victim told firefighters her husband was trapped in the front bedroom.
Gamez described crawling on his hands and feet, feeling his way around couches and clutter, searching for the victim, but unable to see anything.
He said he reached a space about three feet wide when he heard a gasp for air. He said that is when he realized he had found the trapped man, reaching down and feeling him on the floor in front of him.
Gamez said that is also when he started running out of oxygen. He raced outside, then realizing he had lost his helmet, too. He found it later, melted on the outside, burned out on the inside.
Another crew took over, moving in quickly and pulled together to haul the victim outside.
Dallas Fire Rescue Lt. Steve Calderon told News 8 the smoke was so thick, it knocked his crew to the floor. At the same time he said the heat kept building.
News 8 was the only crew on the scene as firefighters rushed the man onto a stretcher and then as paramedics did CPR, loaded the man onto an ambulance and rushed him to the hospital.
Family members said their 79-year-old grandfather suffered burns on his back and serious smoke inhalation.
The man's wife escaped and is okay. She told firefighters she tried to save her husband, but she could not pull him out by herself when he collapsed.
Dallas Fire Rescue said the couple's smoke detector did go off, but instead of trying to get out right away, they went looking for the source of the fire.
Family members said the couple has lived in that home for more than 30 years. They also said the two have lost everything except their truck parked in the driveway.