Marine shares rare bond with woman, 72, he rescued from burning home

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PITTSBURGH - A fast-moving fire destroyed several homes and damaged many others in Mount Oliver Sunday, leaving 50 people displaced. But no serious injuries were reported, thanks in part to two brave men who jumped into action.

Jay Wilfrom, a Marine and resident of Mt. Oliver, said he and another neighbor, Al Scroggins, ran into one of those burning homes to pull a 72-year-old woman from danger.

“I’m not a hero. I only did what someone else would do for me if I was in danger,” Wilfrom said.

Wilfrom said when they got into Loretta Marburger’s Ormsby Avenue house, the smoke was so thick they could not see in front of them.

“By the time I got up to the top steps, the air conditioner exploded and that’s when Jay came in,” Marburger said.

The men eventually pulled Marburger and her pet bird from the flames, collapsing as they got to safety.

“When we finally got out, it collapsed. That was pretty much it,” Marburger said.

Related story: 50 displaced after fire guts several Mt. Oliver homes

Marburger was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital, where she remained for a few days. She has since been released and met with Wilfrom and Channel 11’s Pamela Osborne Thursday night.

“I made a new friend and a family member,” Marburger said while holding Wilfrom’s hand. “I feel grateful and I’m feeling well.”

Marburger’s son told Channel 11 News that he “can’t thank Al and Jay enough for what they did.” He also said his mother lived in that home for 44 years and that’s the home he grew up in.

“It’s sad to see it like this, but things can be replaced,” Marburger’s son said.

Marburger now refers to Wilfrom and Scroggins as her “guardian angels.”

“He didn’t think twice about coming in to save a stranger. I’ll always be grateful,” Marburger said.