ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — There’s the saying “know thy neighbor” – but do you know when your neighbors are in danger and could need lifesaving help? That’s exactly what happened this morning on Elmdorf Avenue in the city – when an intense house-fire caused one man to risk his life to save his neighbors.
David Lovette has known the couple across the street for years. And early on Thursday, he knew they needed serious help when flames engulfed their house.
“They’re older people,” he said.
Lovette says he heard crackling sounds approaching 3 a.m. He thought it was his wife cooking at first – but no. He looks out the window – sees flames all along the side of the couple’s house. Lovette then dials 911 immediately, and without thinking – approaches the front door.
“Mr. Knight was coming out of the door so when I pushed it I pushed him, and he said, ‘get my wife, get my wife, get my wife,” said Lovette. “When a man tells you to get his wife that means he cant do it.”
Fire crews arrived within minutes – but Lovette didn’t wait for them before going inside.
Despite not being able to see anything or breathe due to intense smoke – he made his way to the man’s wife – calling out in the distance.
“I just follow her voice, when I finally touched her hand, I couldn’t see her, we fell a couple times down the stairs but when I got there I brought her over here…I’m just blessed they got out,” he said.
Lovette says crews say if he hadn’t gotten the couple out, they could’ve died, and the story would be completely different. But he claims he isn’t the hero here – fire crews are. Fire crews, on the other hand, calling him a hero.
Either way – Lovette says it was a blessing he just happened to be awake that late in the night so he could be there for his friends when they needed him.
Demolition crews destroyed the last of the house Thursday afternoon, and the house next to it took intense damage as well displacing a third person. Red Cross is assisting all those displaced – and no firefighters or residents got hurt.