WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – One Robins Air Force Base airman is saying thank you to the American Red Cross after one of their volunteers saved his family’s life during an apartment fire last week.
"If it weren’t for him being here, then I wouldn’t be here right now," Michael Vega, a Senior Airman with Robins Air Force Base, said.
Volunteers are calling it an act of heroism.
"Or I would be here right now and they wouldn’t be," Michael said.
The Vega family is calling him a life saver.
Chris Kirby, with the American Red Cross, says it’s in his nature to think quickly on his toes.
"I’m a boy scout, and Eagle scout so it’s not in my nature to run away from anything," Kirby said.
….not even a fire engulfing four apartments right next to his own.
All that’s left is melted plastic, charred memories, and belongings covered in ash.
When Kirby saw flames he sprang into action, knocking on doors on two different floors in the middle of the night.
"As soon as the steps caught on fire, I came back down. I didn’t want to get trapped up there, and then I came back to her door, and that’s when she came out," Kirby said.
All the while, Michael Vega was thousands of miles away serving in South Korea and for a short time felt helpless trying to get into contact with his wife, Jenna.
"She told me to call her ASAP, and I wrote back to her and I didn’t get a response," Michael said.
Jenna, who had just put the couple’s two sons Benson and Kayson to bed, can only thank Kirby for his quick thinking and being in the right place at the right time.
"I walked into the living room, and I saw smoke in there. That’s when I heard him outside, Mr. Kirby outside the door. I went and opened the door, and I just saw the whole side of the walls were up in flames," Jenna said.
Now the young family is on the road to recovery with help from the Red Cross.
"The Red Cross can smudge those lines, bridge those gaps, to make sure that all lines of service come together," Donna Lee with the American Red Cross said.
Because of the group Michael was able to come home in a few days to be with his family.
An opportunity he says wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the group and one special volunteer.
Fire investigators still haven’t determined the cause of the fire.
The Vega family has worked with the Red Cross to make sure they have a place to stay, and also develop a recovery plan to make sure they get everything they need to get their lives back to normal.