APEX, N.C. (WNCN) - An early morning house fire in Apex could’ve turned deadly if it wasn’t for a good Samaritan.
Everyone was fast asleep when a townhome on Harbor Haven Drive in Apex caught fire early Sunday morning - everyone except for Joshua McMillan.
“The flames were obviously higher than the townhouse itself, taller than some of the trees that we have in the neighborhood,” said McMillian.
McMillian says it was around 3:45 in the morning and he was just getting home from work when he noticed his neighbor’s house and backyard on fire.
Without hesitation, he grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran across the street.
“When I get over there to his house I notice in the backyard there’s a propane tank and there’s literally a flame coming out of the propane tank,” he said.
McMillian quickly realized he couldn’t contain the fire on his own.
“I notice my neighbor is not out of his house so my first reaction is to go beat down his door until it comes down or until he comes to the door one or the other,” McMillian said. “Finally, he came out. From there I start knocking on all the other neighbors doors to make sure they’re OK and get them out of their house.”
Once he knew everyone was safe, he called 911 and is neighbor made it out alive because of his bravery.
“That’s somebody son, uncle, inside of that house and I know if that’s me I would hope somebody would come and do the same thing for me too,” McMillian said.
Apex police awarded McMillian the Chief’s Coin for his quick thinking and heroic actions.
“It’s exhilarating knowing that he’s OK,” said McMillian. “I’m ecstatic knowing that he’s safe and sound and he’s able to see another day.”
McMillian says he’s not a hero.
"I just think I’m a regular guy out here just trying to serve the community. That’s all.”
CBS 17 spoke with the homeowner, Al Lamy.
He did not want to go on camera, but he said his bedroom window is right next to where the fire started.
He says he has no doubt that McMillian saved his life.
Apex fire officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation.