Off-Duty N.C. Firefighter Spots Smoke, Saves Couple


The Charlotte firefighter who saved a couple while on his way home from work spoke to Eyewitness News about jumping into action.

Henry Calle said he was driving home on Mallard Creek Road the morning of New Year's Day after working a 24-hour shift when he saw smoke coming from a home.

Calle stopped and immediately called 911.

"I ran up to the house and started knocking on doors and windows," he said.

He said after a few minutes, a man came to the door.

"They had no idea that their house was on fire until I told them and explained the situation," Calle said.

The man told Eyewitness News he and his girlfriend were sleeping inside the home. They had only been asleep for a couple of hours when Calle came.

Jim Riley lives next door and was waking up around the same time that Calle arrived. He heard a popping noise.

"I thought it was firecrackers going off," he said.

He then looked outside and saw the smoke.

"You could see it smoldering, coming out of the peak of the house, he said.

The home had working smoke detectors but they hadn't gone off, since the smoke was so high in the home. So, the situation could have been much worse if Calle hadn't stepped in.

"I can't even imagine what else would have happened. Hopefully someone else would have seen the smoke and done the same thing," Calle said.

Firefighters said an electrical problem in the attic caused the fire, and it created about $15,000 worth of damage.

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