THOMASVILLE, N.C. — The call to service found its way back home for Army veteran Nathan Conquy, who rushed into action to help alert his sleeping neighbors that their apartments were on fire.
The blaze began sometime before 6 a.m. at an unnamed complex on West Colonial Drive in Thomasville. The complex is home to eight people, including an older woman who is on an oxygen tank.
At 5:58 a.m., Conquy stood on his front porch next to the complex. He had had trouble sleeping and had begun to smoke a cigarette.
“I saw some red light flicking around above the trees,” Conquy said, of the moment he questioned what the source of the light was from. “I made it around my garage and saw the apartment building on fire.”
The flames started on the side of the complex furthest from the road and crawled up the walls into the upstairs attic.
Conquy dialed 9-1-1, and then ran toward the fire to try and help his neighbors who had not noticed the flames. He said in that moment he wasn’t thinking of himself, but for his fellow man.
“Instead of stopping and thinking, because that wastes precious time, the training you go through [in the Army], you spring into action to try and save as many people as possible,” he said.
He knocked on the doors and woke all of the families sleeping inside, moments before smoke began to fill their rooms.
“When I saw it I knew I had to do something,” he said.
The eight people inside the complex escaped. One woman was taken to the hospital, treated for smoke inhalation and released.
Fire investigations have not determine the cause of the fire, or where specifically it originated from.