Alumna rescues neighbors from house fire

A CCAD alumna is being called courageous and a hero after helping her elderly neighbors escape unharmed from their burning home in Fayetteville, NC.

Rachael Ormond Santillan (CCAD, ’00) noticed smoke pouring from the couple’s house on Monday, Oct. 11. She attempted to find them inside but the smoke forced her back outside.

On Santillan’s second rescue attempt she found the elderly couple -- one using a walker, the other a cane -- struggling to get out. Santillan picked up the woman to help her escape.

The deputy fire marshall cautioned that it was risky for Santillan to enter the home but said she acted courageously and probably saved the couple’s lives.

Santillan majored in Media Studies-Still Based at CCAD. Visit her website at

For local TV coverage of the story go to WRAL’s video link.

This post was included in the spring 2011 issue of IMAGE Magazine.