17 people left homeless after a fire at a Bluffton apartment complex.
The damage was extensive, but it could have been worse for one family.
One man went the extra mile to save loved ones with two and four legs.
“We don’t have a ceiling anymore,” points out Marco Pena.
All Marco Pena and Shelby Sessions can do now is stand and look at what’s left of their apartment.
“Our third roommate his room was up there by the living room but thats gone,” said Shelby Sessions, who was left homeless by the blaze.
Marco and Shelby’s apartment is one of several gone, taken by a fire at the Lakes at Edgewater.
“Its like the things you see in movies,” explains Shelby. “You don’t ever think its going to happen to you. But it does.”
Marco was inside when the blaze broke out, but may not have known about the fire if not for a good samaritan.
“There was some kind of banging on my front door,” remembers Marco. “Its unusual because no one usually bangs on my door that hard so i kind of ignored it the first time and it happened again.”
“So i opened the door and all I saw was flames and smoke on the right hand side, and you could just tell there was something bad going on on our building side.”
Something bad which sent Marco scrambling into action.
“Immediately i just ran upstairs and had to get my grandmother and my mom out of the house,” explained Pena.
His disabled grandmother was in one bedroom without her prosthetic leg, left helpless.
“I woke her up, I just picked her up,” said Marco. “(Then I) Let my mom know there’s a fire going on.”
But as he ran out he remembered one more potential victim, Shelby’s dog. He stopped long enough to open the door to let her escape.
“Once i saw him afterwards I gave him a big hug and thanked him, because thats my baby,” said a teary eyed Shelby.
Marco says he just did what he felt was the right thing.
“I just tried to take control of the situation and make a positive out of a negative.”
The negative? 17 people are without a place to live.
A community came together to make sure the only things ‘lost” were furnitures and clothes..
“I think this whole community is a hero,” said Marco. “I don’t want to single myself out but I did what I needed to do for my parents.”
Two dogs were pulled from the burning building.
A cat and guinea pig were also saved.
They are all now recovering with some help from the Red Cross.
The Bluffton Fire Department is still investigating the blaze.