Man saves disabled roommate from fire

- Out of the ash of the firestorm that engulfed the North Bay, we are hearing stories of heroism.

One man, who lived in Santa Rosa's Coffey Park saved his disabled roommate by spending nearly four hours in the park dodging burning debris.

KTVU'S Tara Moriarty was with Ed Corn when he went back to what was left of his house for the first time today.

"Wow! It's even worse than I thought!" said Corn, as the car pulled up to the charred remains of his house directly across the street from the greenbelt and playground.

"The bushes here burned me as I walked out, " he said, pointing to the spot where ashes now lie.

Sunday night Corn barely survived the firestorm that swallowed his Santa Rosa neighborhood.

"Oh my goodness, what have we got here?" he said, with his arms outstretched, as he stood on the cement precipice of what was once his house.

The 59-year-old is a full-time caregiver for Heidi Kulick, a paraplegic.

"She wasn't going to go down," he said matter-of-factly. "Everything burst into flames; all the bushes, all the trees... just went cobalt white and twelve-foot balls of fire!" explained Corn, who says he wrapped Kulick with wet blankets and towels and wheeled her and her cat Missy across the street to the park.

"We moved 20 times to avoid dying in that park," said Corn.

For the next three and a half hours, the two dodged flying embers, burning shingles and even a car hurled by the fire tornado that engulfed the park.

"This car flew from that street in midair to right there," said Corn gesturing from a street to the crumpled and scorched metal shell of a car which 80-100 yards away. "There was at least five times when [I thought] we're gonna die."

Fire completely surrounded the pair on all sides but Corn knew the grass at the park was well-watered and he felt they would be safe there. Corn kept pushing the wheelchair, at one time seeking refuge behind a redwood tree.

"And there are spiritual things here that, you know we were protected by some stuff," cried Corn catching his breath. "What we went through... so it's pretty heavy."

Corn suffered first and second degree burns to his face and arm.
Kulick escaped unscathed.

Corn likens Coffey Park to a war zone.

"I have a lot of Vietnam veteran friends and I never knew what they went through," said Corn, choking back tears, "But I went through it, so I got some de-fragging to do myself."

Paramedics eventually rescued the pair. Sadly, Corn's dog Gypsy didn't make it out of the fire.

She was a rescue dog and spooked by the fire. She hid in the house and Corn was unable to find her.

When KTVU told Corn that his actions were nothing less than heroic, he said, "I can't go there because we all go on automatic. We kinda know what to do. Our instincts pop in."

"But I wasn't a hero for my dogs," said Corn overcome with emotion, "and that's the hard part."

With no clothes, no car and no house, Corn doesn't know what he'll do next. He said that he and Kulick may rebuild.

Since Kulick has special needs, the pair may try to get into a mobile home while they wait on the insurance company.

For now, Corn is staying with friends and Kulick is at the hospital. Kulick's parents are no longer living, neither are Corn's parents. Corn was an only child so he has no family to help him, but he does have many friends.

"[My neighbors and I are] actually going to have a beer the local pub because we don't know where to gather up, you know, and I went to the Russian River Brewery yesterday, they gave me shirts and a hat. [People have been] very kind to me," said Corn.

"This is a very big spiritual time that we all share because none of us are different, we're all the same we're all the same with our stuff, without it."

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