Portland man badly burned while saving seven

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John Zeller is struggling to survive in intensive care in a Portland hospital.

The volunteer with Clackamas County Search and Rescue helped seven people escape a fire at a Southeast Portland duplex. His mom, aunt, uncle, sister, nephew and two neighbors all got away safely.

Zeller can't breathe without help and his body is badly burned.

Patty Wilcox, Zeller's aunt, said Zeller noticed the fire by his office in the garage. When he realized he couldn't control the flames, he focused on what he could control: saving seven people.

"He basically got everybody out. Woke everybody up, running around," Wilcox said. "He was using a lot of adrenaline and inhaling a lot of smoke and at one point he just collapsed."

Zeller didn't stop once everyone else was safe. He backed three cars away from the burning duplex and let his own SUV burn.

Authorities say it's unclear what started the fire.