PLANT CITY, Fla - An elderly Plant City couple might not be alive this Christmas if it wasn't for their brave neighbor.
Lee Coleman, 44, noticed flames and sparks coming from his neighbor's home on Terrace Drive Sunday morning. As his wife called 911, he took off toward the house.
"I felt like I ran 75 yards in probably about three seconds," said Coleman.
Another neighbor who declined to be interviewed by ABC Action News also helped wake the couple. The couple, who were sleeping, had no idea flames and smoke were shooting from their house. They thought the noises they heard was a construction crew working next door and went back to sleep.
"It was a nightmare," Coleman said.
Coleman was able to bring the couple to safety. But, he wasn't done. Coleman ran back to the house to try and save it.
Looking on as propane tanks caught fire, Coleman began battling the blaze with a yard hose.
"I seen the tank started blowing gas out of it so I said, 'That is what I need to put out first' because I didn't want it to explode," he recalled.
As Coleman fought the flames, his wife and children nervously watched.
"I was really scared," said Tammy Coleman. "I kept thinking any second it is going to explode."
With the flames moving very quickly, Coleman knew he couldn't save the house. Instead, he turned his attention back to the elderly couple. Both were in the street and in their pajamas and watching as flames took away every they owned.
"He was fighting me to go back in the house. He wasn't going to let nobody stop him from going back in his house and I couldn't let him do it," Coleman explained.
Meanwhile, the rescued woman sobbed.
"His wife was terrified. She lost it," Coleman said.
Firefighters eventually showed up and put out the fire. What was left was a shell of the white house and charred belongings.
Coleman's daring rescue came just one week after he nearly lost his own life.
While out washing his car, a tree fell on to his car along with power lines.
Just seconds before, Coleman walked to the other side of his car. Had he have been standing where the tree fell, he would have been crushed. He walked away unhurt but the family's only car was totaled. T
"Something there. Something tell me something you know," Coleman said.
The family is not sure how they will replace the car because they do not have insurance. Still, the Coleman family told ABC Action News they learned a valuable lesson this holiday, that possessions, whether it be a car or house, can be replaced, but loved ones cannot.
The elderly couple was not available to speak. They have since moved in with one of their children who lives nearby.
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