A family of four is still alive thanks to the actions of their brave neighbors and one very smart German shepherd, named Maxx, who risked his own life to save the youngest members of his family.
It was Monday night in the Orlando suburb of Longwood. The neighbors of Brent and Margo Feaser, Chip Dover, his son Andrew, and friend Joe Jordan, were outside shortly after 11 p.m. enjoying the night sky, Today reported.
"We were outside with my telescope, looking at Jupiter with my next door neighbor," Dover said. "We were getting ready to come in when we heard a big explosion, and the house just blew up."
They sprung into action and ran to their house, finding it "burning like crazy." They soon realized the Feasers will still inside. They broke the front windows with furniture on the front porch while Jordan called 911.At the time, John Newton was sitting in his living room when he heard a "bang." When he looked out the window, he saw flames licking his neighbor's house. He, too, sprung into action, dialing 911 and then running across the street to help the neighbors, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Together, they smashed windows in the hope that the effort would clear the thick smoke gathering inside the house. As they feverishly worked, Newton said he heard Margo scream from somewhere inside. They led her to an open window by talking to her, and were able to pull her out.
Her first concern, however, was her husband and two children still trapped inside the house, said Seminole Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma.
"She came out and her No.1 concern was to get back in there and save those kids. She's a hero and acted as such."Before firefighters arrived, Newton said she tried to crawl back through the windows, but he and his neighbors had to hold her back.
Firefighters arrived minutes later and smashed down the front door. They were able to save her husband, Brent, who was found suffering from significant burns. The family dog, Maxx, also managed to escape, but their children, a 2-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy, were still inside.
Firefighters leapt inside to save the kids, but faced a harrowing challenge: the inside was filled with heavy smoke and they had trouble seeing.
That's when Maxx, a retired police dog, stepped up to the plate.
Maxx ran back inside the smoke-filled home, as if knowing the two youngest members of his family were still trapped in the fire.
"The family canine was just absolutely remarkable leading firefighters inside. It absolutely saved their lives."The kids were carried outside by firefighters and rushed to the hospital.
The entire family is in the hospital and doing well. They are in various states of recovery, from serious to critical. Brent, Margo, and their kids all suffered smoke inhalation and burns. Maxx also suffered from smoke inhalation and is being treated by a local vet.
The family was sleeping when the fire erupted. So far, investigators believe it started on the back porch and was an accident; the home was destroyed.
Margo is a sheriff's deputy and both she and her husband military veterans. She's been with the department for 12 years and served with the U.S. Army during Operation Enduring Freedom, when she was deployed overseas.
"There is a long road of recovery and rebuilding ahead, but our Sheriff's Office family will be with Margo and her family every step of the way," said Sheriff Don Eslinger.
[Image via ninii/Shutterstock]