SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – John Miller says he had no idea his house was on fire.
“Heard guys pounding at my door,” said the retired U.S. Marine. “I ran outside and said who’s house? So I didn’t know it was ours. “
Miller and his wife were inside a back room of the home in eastern Sarasota. It was right around noon. He didn’t smell any smoke and none of the smoke detectors were going off.
It was about that time that Jeffrey Lapierre and Marc Perrotta were making their rounds in the neighborhood. The two are employees of Waste Management and were in the neighborhood collecting trash. That’s when they spotted the smoke.
“I was riding on the back throwing garbage,” recalls Lapierre. “We came around the corner and saw the smoke, and then Marc floored it to come up here. “
Perrotta says the was getting much stronger by the time they arrived at the home.
“It was really hot when we got up to the house,” said Perotta. “And it was standing up and it was burning.”
The Millers got out of the house with their dog. Fire crews arrived moments later and extinguished the flames. Sarasota County Fire Battalion Chief Mike Sullivan says without the help of these two Good Samaritans, the outcome could have been much different.
“It’s a good thing to be looking out for your neighbors, looking out for each other,” said Chief Sullivan. “It’s a good reminder for all of us to make sure that we’ve got good working smoke detectors inside of our houses.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Miller suspects there may have been an electrical issue in the attic. While the property damage is devastating to Miller and his wife, he says life is far more precious than possessions.
“Good that we’re all safe,” said Miller. “This is all just stuff.”