‘Something just took over and I wasn’t afraid at all’: Davidson County man saves neighbor from burning home

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- A Davidson County man made a heroic rescue.

When Jeff Gray got home from work early Tuesday evening, he found flames shooting out of his neighbor's home. Without thinking twice, he rushed inside to save her life.

It was just another day at work for Gray on Tuesday afternoon, but for some reason, he decided to leave early.

"About 10 minutes 'til four I just said, 'It's hot, I'm tired, and I think I'm going to leave,'" Gray said.

It was a chance decision that saved a woman's life. When he pulled down Beam Drive, he saw flames shooting out of the home across the road from him.

"The instant I saw the fire and I saw her car there, and I knew she was there," he said.

His neighbor Brenda was still inside.

"I saw the flames and I stopped right there, grabbed a shovel out of the back. Something just took over and I wasn't afraid at all," Gray said.

Gray used that shovel to knock out a window. He said he yelled inside the window and the fire had spread to the room. When he didn't hear her, he ran around to the back and smashed another window with his shovel. That's when he heard his neighbor moan. Then he ran inside the burning home.

"I hollered when I ran into the smoke and all I heard was, 'Ahh,'" he said.

He found Brenda, but the flames and smoke were surrounding them.

"I said, 'Stop, we're going to be out in one second,' and I took three big steps with her in my arms, and we jumped," he said.

They got out, but they were not safe yet.

"I did it. Somehow I did it. And I was so happy when I got her out of the house and we were in the yard, and all of a sudden, 'whoosh,' the flames came out and we had to take off again," he said.

The flames were so big they singed the car outside. The home is a total loss, but because of Gray's quick thinking a woman's life was saved and both their lives changed forever.

"I would do the same thing again in a heartbeat for anybody and I hope everybody else would do the same," he said.

Gray has a few little burns on his arms. Brenda is recovering. Family members said Brenda just had surgery on her shoulder and she was already recovering from that as well.