Felande Ross saved his 4-year-old neighbor from the fire that ultimately killed her father. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 6, 2012)
News 12 First at Five / Monday, Aug. 6, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga.-- Felande Ross is the neighbor across the street who rescued a little girl trapped inside her fiery home, but it is a bittersweet day for him because he couldn't save her father, too.
"If I had just waited for the firefighters, she probably wouldn't have had a chance," Ross aid.
The words of a hero who knew that it was up to him to save a life. Now, more than 12 hours after it happened, he thinks back to what was going through his head in that moment.
"I was scared. The only thing I was trying to do was at least to save some lives. That's all I was thinking about," he said.
Richmond County deputies say the fire started in the kitchen, probably at the stove while a father of three was cooking. They were all inside when the fire started.
That's when two of the kids heard the fire alarm and ran to their neighbor's house to get help.
Vickey McKie saw the kids running around the street and immediately asked them, "What was wrong, what was going on and they and they said that their house was on fire and that their dad and their sister were still in the house."
As soon as he heard that, Ross sprang into action.
"Got to the side and got the window open and I was screaming for the little girl. I was like Destiny can you grab my hand? Can you grab my hand? And she wasn't making any noise, and I was like Destiny, oh my God. It's OK, it's OK. Please just grab my hand; just grab my hand," he said.
Blinded by the smoke, he crawled in the side window and felt his way around until he found her. Once he got her out, Ross went back to try to find her father, but by then, it was too late. The roof started caving in, and all he could do was watch.
"He was a good person. He had a kind heart, a sweet heart. He would give you the shirt off his back. He would do anything for you," McKie said.
"I know he's so proud of me right now. Anything I could do for him, anything ... We always stayed there for each other. And I know he'd be real proud of me for doing that for him," Ross said.
Ross says he had help. He wanted us to know a man named Miller Jenkins also helped him rescue the little girl. The 4-year-old is at the hospital for smoke inhalation, but the other two kids are fine and with their mother who was at work when this all happened.
Even though it was a terrifying experience, Ross says he would do it again.