A family of four, including a Seminole County Sheriff's Office deputy, was pulled from a burning house fire by neighbors and firefighters overnight in Longwood, deputies said.

  • Seminole deputy lives at the home with family, including 2 children
  • Neighbors heard popping and saw flames, called 911 late Monday
  • Neighbors threw table through window to get inside
  • 4 family members in serious-but-stable condition; dog expected to be OK

The fire broke out at about 11:20 p.m. Monday at a home in the area of Country Hill Drive and Sweetwater Boulevard North.

The family was sleeping when neighbors reported they heard "popping" noises coming from the deputy's home. Neighbors then called 911 after they saw flames coming from the home.

One neighbor used a table from the front porch and smashed out all of the windows at the front of the home and pulled at least one person to safety.

"One of the neighbors saw an occupant in one of the rooms and picked up a table and smashed through the window, all the windows acutally, and pulled the woman to safety," Seminole Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma said.

When rescuers arrived, they saved one man trapped inside the home by barreling through the front door. Then when they got inside, the family's dog led rescuers to the children's room, where the family's 2-year-old and 4-year-old children were alive.

Lemma said the family members were taken to various hospitals in serious-but-stable conditions. They suffered smoke inhalation and possibly burns. The dog was taken to a Seminole Sheriff's Office veterinary facility and is expected to be OK, Lemma said.

The Sheriff's Office says it is proud and relieved the family made it out alive.

"The employee, when she initially came out, her primary concern was to get back inside and rescue her children. She is an absolute trouper. She is a hero within our organization, and her actions tonight demonstrated that behavior," Lemma said.

"We are extremely grateful tonight that despite this tragedy, no one has lost their life, and for the heroic efforts by these neighbors and these firefighters who were here on scene and brought those kids and this family to safety," he said.

The exact location of the home is being withheld because of a Florida law protecting the identities of law enforcement.

The fire has been ruled as accidental. The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating.

(Arnie Girard, Staff)