DELAND, Fla. — A man is being hailed a hero for alerting his neighbors at a Volusia County apartment complex of a fire that totaled two apartments, according to officials.

  • No injuries reported
  • 2 apartments total loss
  • Official: His actions saved lives tonight

It happened just before 1:27 a.m. on Muscovy Circle, off U.S. 17 and Spring Garden Avenue.

When fire crews arrived, they saw the billowing black smoke and flames coming from the second story of the apartment complex.

Video provided by Ed C.

They quickly determined it was a two-alarm working fire, standard for high-rises or duplexes, according to the acting Division Chief Nicholas Castelli with Volusia County Fire Rescue

Crews began attacking the fire, entering the second floor of the complex and found where they think it started.

However, it was a young man, Zach Morrison, in that apartment who woke up to the smell of smoke and did something fire crews found heroic.

"He got up, called for his mom. She came in with an extinguisher, tried to get the fire out. He went around door to door, waking everybody up in the adjacent apartments. I truly believe that his actions saved lives tonight. That quick thinking, going door to door, was able to get this place evacuated so the firefighters could get here. And it was one thing we could put off to the side, life safety. Since everyone was accounted for," said Castelli.

Morrison said seeing the wall of flames was frightening and is not sure why he did was he did, moving so fast, that he did not have time to put on a shirt or shoes. 

"(It was) definitely a scary experience," said the 22-year-old Morrison. He was getting ready for bed when he smelled smoke. "Looked on my back patio and the whole wall was in flames."

After seeing the wall of fire, he yelled for his mother to 911 and then he took action.

"Went to everybody's door and started knocking on the doors, telling everybody get out," he recalled.

Calvin Chisholm was behind one of those doors.

"He was beating real loud. Scared, screaming 'help' because he didn't want anybody to get caught up in the fire," Chisolm remembered.

While some are calling him a hero, Morrison is not comfortable with the term.

"I would just call myself a good Samaritan. (I just did) what anybody would do if there was a fire," he said.

The Volusia County Fire Rescue is ruling it an accidental fire and they notified the state Fire Marshal's office, who will come out later Wednesday morning.

Sixteen people and one pet have been displaced in the two-alarm fire, but there are no reported injuries, according to officials.

Two of the apartments are a total loss and six are salvageable, stated the VCFR.