Neighbor becomes hero, helps save Brevard family from fire

3 people inside alseep when fire started at Rockledge home

ROCKLEDGE, Fla. - A quick-thinking neighbor became a sudden hero after spotting a family's home on fire and rushing to help them to safety.

Donald Maddy didn't waste a minute. Once he spotted flames, his actions probably saved several lives. He saw the smoke as fire ripped through the roof of the Rockledge house long before the family inside even knew anything was wrong.

Hours after the fire gutted the house, Maddy said he still can't believe what he did as he stood outside the house on Matthew Drive.

"Shaking. But at the same time, in my mind, thinking, 'I know somebody's here,'" he recalled. "If they don't answer after up to a minute, I'm going to break down the door."

He said he knew the the family was inside because he saw cars in the driveway. When nobody ran out, he slammed on the door.

Kurt Gregory, his wife, and nephew were inside sleeping, said Maddy, and only awoke because of his knocking. They ran out in time to watch their house burn.

"It's getting to me, but everybody's safe, that's the important thing," said Gregory, as he watched his house burn. "I was in the back of the house and someone was knocking on the door letting me know there was a fire started out back, maybe by the electrical box."

Maddy may have saved three lives, but he doesn't want to call himself a hero.

"I [saw] smoke and it was just instinct," he said. "I don't like the word hero. I say it's a friendly, neighborly thing that I did."

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