A family from Mount Dora, Florida, is still in shock after a raging fire destroyed their house earlier this week. All of their possessions were destroyed—only burnt bed frames and melted children’s toys remain in the family’s former home.
But still, they’re counting their blessings.
They know things could’ve been a lot worse—if it wasn’t for dad’s selfless, life-saving heroics.
The fire began early Sunday morning when the family was still in bed. No fire alarms went off—Brad Russell, a father of six, only became aware of it when he awoke to a terrible sound from the other room.
“All I heard was that blood-curdling scream, ‘daddy, daddy,'” Russell recalled to WOFL. It was the voice of his 13-year-old son.
He ran to help—but arrived to a horrifying scene.
“When I met him, this whole room was engulfed in flames.”
The fire was spreading and would soon engulf the entire house. Russell knew he had to act immediately to get his children to safety.
He got his son and sleeping 1-year-old out of the house. Then, without thinking, he ran back in to the smoldering building.
Russell grabbed his 6-year-old daughter—but realized the danger was escalating rapidly as the room suddenly filled with flames, blocking their exit.
He was forced to make a drastic, life-or-death decision:
He dove out the window, suffering burns in the process.
But even after all that, he still went right back into the house.
He set his dog free from his cage and got the rest of his children to safety.
The Russells are now without a home, left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Russell’s sister-in-law set up a GoFundMe fundraising page to help them get back on their feet.
But despite losing everything, everyone miraculously got to safety—and dad says he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“We’re all alive,” he told WOFL. “You can’t ask for much more.”
Despite saving his whole family, Russell doesn’t believe he’s done anything extraordinary—just what anyone would do in his shoes: