Dathen Collins carried Mark Hughes out of a burning apartment building on his back on Friday

By Char Adams
May 08, 2019 11:25 AM
Dathen Collins

Dathen Collins was traveling to his uncle’s apartment in Kentucky on Friday when he stumbled upon a scene that would lead to him saving a stranger’s life.

Collins saw a thick cloud of smoke coming from the Powhatan Trail apartment complex in Frankfort that night, according to WLKY. When he saw a man standing on a second-floor balcony, Collins quickly sprang into action.

“It was pretty rough. It was intense black smoke. I was just like, ‘Somebody has to do something,’ ” Collins said, noting that he headed into the building and began climbing the stairs when he saw Mark Hughes.

“[He was] just kind of facing the wall, actually,” Collins added. “He didn’t know where he was. He was lost. I grabbed him and walked him out. I just did what needed to be done.”

He instructed Hughes to grab onto his back before Collins carried the man out of the building, Hughes told WLKY. Collins set Hughes up against his car until the fire department arrived.

The Frankfort Fire Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.

The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen area of a first-floor apartment, according to the station. Both Hughes and Collins made it out unscathed.

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The pair reunited on Tuesday, with Collins telling WLKY that the incident was a close call.

“I knew he was an older man, so I assumed he had health issues,” Collins said. “I don’t know if he remembers me or not, but I remember him.”

Mark Hughes

Stories of harrowing fire rescues have made headlines in recent weeks.

In March, a man survived after running into a burning multi-house blaze in Pala, California, to save his family’s 2-year-old blue nose pit bull named Gabanna.

“I knew something could’ve happened to me or both of us, but it didn’t go through my mind at the time,” Jose Guzman told PEOPLE. “That dog is part of my family. She’s been with us through downs and ups and I couldn’t leave her there. I would do it again if I had to; I would do it for anybody in my family.”

Video of the dramatic rescue quickly went viral, with dog lovers everywhere praising Guzman’s decision to risk his life. In the footage, Guzman is seen running in, despite protests from firefighters. Within moments, he comes running out behind Gabanna.