A North Texas teenager took action when his neighbors' home caught fire and his quick thinking may have saved a life.
Gabriel Vivoni, 17, happened to be going by Jennifer and Patrick McDermott’s home in the 4300 block of Gleneagles Drive in Mansfield on Monday night about 9 p.m. That’s when he saw flames coming from part of the house.
Vivoni didn't know the neighbors. He quickly alerted his parents and then ran up to the house and knocked on the door. When there was no answer, he opened the door and went in. That's when he found the McDermotts’ 11-year old boy inside watching TV and got him out safely.
"I came back, and that’s when I ran through the garage and into the house,” Vivoni said. “I got the boy. He was like, ‘What's going on?’ I was like, ‘The house is on fire. We need to get out of here now.’ That's when we got out and the parents got here almost immediately."
Just then, the child's father arrived home. He was able to get inside to rescue the family dog.
The McDermotts declined an on-camera interview, but they tell FOX 4 they were returning from church. Patrick made it into the home minutes after Vivoni and saved the family's dog.
Jennifer posted on her Facebook page a message to Vivoni and others.
"Thank you so much for being so selfless and running into my house to find anyone in there and helping my son out,” Jennifer said. “We would also like to than our neighbors who quickly came together to help provide clothes, shoes water and hugs."
Vivoni said, looking back, it’s scary to think about what could have been, but he's proud of himself and glad he could help.
“They told me thank you a lot and we hugged, they were really grateful,” he said. “There was not much I actually did, but they were grateful for what I did.”
Fire officials say the teenager's timing was fortunate. They, too, are grateful while flames destroyed the home, no one was hurt.
"We always recommend you leave it to the professionals. Firefighters have special training and equipment to do that,” said Jeff Smith with the Mansfield Fire Dept. “But we are thankful that he was able to do this safely. And it shows that not all heroes wear capes."
Vivoni’s mother says he is also a lifeguard and rescuing is in his nature. Investigators say the fire started in the garage.