Fresno ‘Rib Man’ Saves Kids, Then BBQ Ribs, in an Apartment Fire

When Robert Wright, a father living in an apartment complex in Fresno, noticed that a fire was spreading through the building, he had two things on his mind: First, get the children outside and make sure they’re safe. Second, go back for the BBQ ribs and get those to safety, too.

Local Fox News station KMPH 26 reported on September 2 that a fire had begun spreading through an apartment building located just off Cedar Avenue. The fire seems to have been contained in one unit, where it injured two residents (a mother and her six-year-old son) who are now recovering in a local hospital.

Fresno firefighters reportedly received a call around 2:30 a.m. and were able to get to the scene and extinguish the flames before anyone else was injured.

Around 3:00 a.m., news photojournalist Ryan Hudgins was reporting at the scene when resident Robert Wright approached him and began telling him, on camera, how he noticed the fire in his neighbor’s apartment and immediately brought his kids outside.

But Wright’s story got a little more interesting, and it all had to do with the slab of ribs he had been barbecuing when the fire next door — unrelated to his own cooking — broke out.

Hudgins got the entire candid interview on video, and within 24 hours, the video of the “Rib Man” had gone viral.

“I was barbecuing, man, and I just see this fire coming through the window,” Wright explained. “The only thing I think first, man, ‘Make sure those ribs is right.‘ I ran over and got my family, man. I brung everybody out safely, man. I carried everybody out myself, man … I did that. You feel me?”

Kids first, ribs second.

“I got my kids first. And I thought about my ribs. I didn’t want to let my ribs burn and stuff. I take pride in what I do, man. It’s like 3 o’clock in the morning. I was hungry man,” Wright said.

Comical as the story is, it does highlight the importance of fire alarm systems, especially in buildings where there are many residents living in separate units — apartment buildings, condominiums, and hotels all need to be outfitted with extensive firm alarm systems to ensure the safety of everyone inside.

As for Robert Wright’s ribs, he held the ribs up for the camera as he explained what happened, and then he wished Hudgins a good night before saying that he was going to go enjoy his food. To be fair, the ribs did look pretty delicious.

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