GreatCall employee hailed as hero after saving neighbors from fire

Kevin Arlinghaus was at home watching television when he smelled smoke.

“It didn’t smell like a barbecue. It smelled like burning plastic,” he said.

Kevin — who works for Best Buy subsidiary GreatCall — went outside to investigate and soon discovered a fire in a nearby garage at his townhome community in Carlsbad, California. Within minutes, the garage was fully engulfed in flames.

Kevin is now being hailed as a hero after calling 911 and helping save a 93-year-old woman and her adult grandson.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” he said. “I didn’t think I was being a hero.”

‘It was pretty intense’

It was a little before 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 when Kevin first noticed the smoke coming from the garage. He was trying to get a better look when he heard a series of loud pops — likely from paint cans exploding inside the garage.

“That’s when it started going crazy,” he said. “It was pretty intense.”

Soon the flames were shooting high above the roof of the garage. He went to the nearest home and knocked, but nobody answered. The door was unlocked, so he went inside and found the woman and her grandson.

“You need to get out of here right now,” he told them. “There’s a fire. We’ve got to go.”

He grabbed her walker and helped her get outside. Once they were safely away from the fire, he found her a place to sit and got her a pillow and blanket.

Meanwhile, firefighters arrived and extinguished the blaze.

Keeping seniors safe

This wasn’t the first time Kevin has helped a senior to safety. In fact, he does it every day.

Kevin works in sales at GreatCall, a leading provider of connected health technology that keeps seniors safe and provides peace of mind for their caregivers. Best Buy bought the company in 2018.

“When he gets a call from someone looking for more info, he’s very thorough about explaining how we handle emergency situations,” said Kevin’s supervisor, Luis Velasquez. “Our No. 1 goal is to keep seniors connected and safe.”

Luis, who described Kevin as quiet and reserved, said he and the GreatCall team are incredibly proud of Kevin’s recent heroics.

“I’m not surprised that he did,” Luis said. “I’m just surprised we found out about it.”

Photo courtesy of NBC 7 San Diego. Click here to watch the station’s coverage of the fire.