Neighbors safe after 12-year-old girl calls 911 to report fire in Orange County

Elderly couple, 2 cats safe after house fire near Leu Gardens

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An elderly couple and their two cats are safe after their 12-year-old neighbor called 911 to report a fire that tore through the second floor of their Orlando home.

It happened Thursday evening at a home on Merritt Park Drive.

Molly Banks, 12, was writing an essay for her science class when she saw the flames tearing through the home just before 7 p.m.

"I stood up right from the chair, looked out, I leaned over and I see fire," Molly said.

Firefighters at the scene told Local 6 the elderly couple who lives in the home made it out safely, but seven of their nine cats are still missing.

The two cats that escaped the blaze had burnt paws and were given oxygen before taken to an animal hospital.

About 30 firefighters worked to put out what they are calling an aggressive fire. The flames quickly tore through the all-wood home, completely destroying the second floor.

It appears the cause of the fire may have been electrical, according to firefighters, who add that the fire marshal is still investigating.

Neighbors told Local 6 the homeowner, "Gus," is a kind man, who cuts people's grass for free.

Dori Madison lives on the street and is grateful for Molly's quick actions.

"She knows he's a great guy, so Molly was kind of hero in this dilemma," Madison said.

Molly said she wasn't trying to be a hero.

"I just knew it was the right thing to do, I wasn't expecting to be like the hero of the town," Molly said.

Firefighters said the second floor is completely destroyed, but the first floor of the home is in good shape.

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