Strangers help homeless hero who saved Phoenix family from burning apartment

The community and even people from out-of-state are coming together to help Joe Hollins, who saved a Phoenix family from a burning apartment fire.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 5:37 PM MST|Updated: May. 24, 2023 at 6:11 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Every time Richard Bequette watches the AZFamily story about the homeless hero, who rescued a mom and her two daughters from their burning Phoenix apartment, the retired police commander gets a little emotional. “Here’s a man who’s homeless and went out of his way to put himself at potential risk to help save this family,” said Bequette. “I was very impressed by that, and I thought, in some way, he should be rewarded for that activity.”

The 83-year-old Peoria grandfather is one of many AZFamily viewers who were so touched by the homeless man’s act of bravery last week that they’ve reached out asking how they can help. Actor James Woods tweeted the original story, and the flood of people offering assistance grew even more.

Sara Nelson lives in Las Vegas. She started chatting with many people on social media and decided to set up a GiveSendGo page for the homeless hero, Joe Hollins. “If we can get this man money that he needs to get an apartment, it can hopefully get him on a path where this will jump-start his life and get off the street, get a job, get him a place to live,” said Nelson.

A man living on the streets jumped into action and helped save a mother and her kids from a raging apartment fire in Phoenix.

Hollins, his wife, and dog have been living along a canal off 23rd Avenue and Indian School Road in Phoenix. He was told about everyone reaching out and offering assistance. “I’m very grateful for everything, but I didn’t do it for the help,” said Hollins. “I did it because there was a family in need.”

AZFamily contacted the city of Phoenix about Hollins to see what could be done to help. A homeless solutions team met with Hollins Wednesday and was able to help him and his wife move into a shelter, according to a Phoenix spokesperson.

Money is still being raised to help Hollins. For details, visit