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Group of neighbors recall rushing to help victims of Santee plane crash

The neighbors say they ran to the crash site barefoot to help
Santee plane crash.png
Posted at 9:53 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 00:53:05-04

SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) – On Monday, a group of neighbors in a Santee heard something quite alarming.

"And I felt the house shake and my chest shook. And I turned to my wife, and I said that wasn't an earthquake, what was that?" Michael Keeley, a neighbor, said.

What Keeley, his fellow neighbors Allison Rea and Amanda Nelson didn't see was that ball of flames shoot into the air.

The group quickly found out a plane had gone down just a few houses down from them and they took off running to help.

In cellphone video recorded by Nelson, you can hear her screaming asking if anyone was inside a home that was on fire.

"I started screaming and Michael said that Mandy if you hadn't started screaming that wouldn't have woke me up to where I needed to be,” Nelson said

"I'm like okay where can I start first, where can I go to help first? And she started screaming and I'm like side window lies go and that's when I saw Allison in the lead there,” Keeley said.

In the video, Rea is the first one to make her way to the side window of the home starting to be consumed by flames.

"Allison started to open the window, moved the stuff out of the way because there was decoration on the table and stuff there,” Keeley said.

"I thought what if somebody's in there. You know just go to the window. And I'm peaking inside,” Rea said.

"But I saw her at the other end of the living room and the whole living room was in flames already."

The group said a handful of other neighbors storming up to help as well.

"They were calling for her to come to the window. So once Allison moved the stuff out of the way, I reached in and grabbed her arm, helped her step through the window and I said we need to get out of here,” Keeley said.

"(There were) Just explosions were going off. And at that moment I knew we can't be this close anymore."

After these neighbors and others got to safety and settled down, something dawned on them.

"We realized all three of us were barefoot. We didn't care we just all went for it,” Keeley said.

This group of neighbors came to the rescue for others and did something truly heroic.

"Not for, you know, own personal glory and stuff. But when I try to teach my kids what is a hero, it's somebody, who in the moment of a crisis, acts brave; doesn't think they're brave or whatever,” Keeley said.

Nelson also said it was difficult to return to the crash site after the death of a beloved neighborhood UPS driver.

They all also expressed their condolences to the pilot of the plane.