Last week, an elderly New Jersey couple’s condo caught fire, spreading to three nearby homes. But thanks to two quick-acting neighbors, the husband and wife emerged unscathed from what could have easily ended in tragedy.
Frank Medici was leaving his condo complex in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, last Wednesday when he caught sight of the fire, and immediately left his car to assess the situation. Once inside, he found his wheelchair-bound neighbor, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, trapped on the second floor with his wife.
“I don’t think they realized the severity of the fire and how bad it was and quick it went up. I mean it only took a few minutes,” Medici told WTXF-TV.
In the meantime, another neighbor, Rich Pekunis, saw the smoke rising from the building.
“I started running down there. I didn’t even have shoes on, but I ran down there,” he told WTXF. “I called 9-11, I’m banging on all the doors.”
Medici and Pekunis later learned that the elderly man’s wife had attempted to extinguish the flames with a pitcher of water, to no avail. Had it not been for their intervention, the couple would not have made it out alive.
Both men said were especially concerned because they knew about the elderly man’s condition, which has left him with very limited mobility.
“It is scary going in, but you just see he couldn’t move — put him over my shoulder, which I felt bad doing. But we got him out,” Medici described the rescue, which was caught on tape.
“I’m glad we were there to help out because I think, if we weren’t there, it would’ve turned out a lot different, unfortunately,” Pekunis said. “It always makes you feel good to help somebody out.”
“It’s just being a good neighbor. That’s it,” Medici added.
By the time the two friends managed to deliver their neighbors to safety, the fire had spread to three other units. Fortunately, the fire department arrived just as this was happening. No one was hurt.
Watch the incredible rescue: