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Alpine Motel tenants credit maintenance worker for saving lives

Posted at 5:21 PM, Dec 23, 2019

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Dozens of people still won't be able to go back into the Alpine Motel Apartments, which was damaged by the deadly fire over the weekend.

Multiple tenants say, however, the efforts from the apartment's maintenance worker helped save lives.

"He saved a lot. He saved a lot of lives, at least, 100 percent," Nelson Blackburn, a tenant, said.

RELATED: Video shows people escaping Alpine fire in downtown Las Vegas

The tenants from the apartments remembering the efforts of Don Bennett, the maintenance worker for the building. Multiple tenants identified him through this Facebook photo.

"Don was one of the main people trying to bust doors open, kick doors open, pull people out of their rooms," Blackburn said.

During the fire Saturday morning, they say Bennett worked with others and got people out the windows, as smoke filled the building.

"He's a hero in my book. Just like I saved some of the women and children, he saved everybody," Mathew Sykes, a tenant said.

The fire killed six people and left 13 others injured, and multiple tenants say Bennett died while trying to pry open the back door open.

"He got caught in the smoke inhalation so bad that he couldn't breathe," Sykes said.

Tenants remembered him as someone who always went above and beyond to help with whatever issue they may have.

"There have been times when we didn't have a TV in our room. He gave us his TV," Charles Couch, a tenant, said.

His selflessness resonated with them, and they are still in shock.

"It's something we all got to go through right now. I'm puzzled about everything, but I loved the guy, man. He was a cool dude," a tenant said.

Fire officials said it will be a while before anyone is let back into the building, as the incident remains under investigation.