Pastor saves three from Perry house fire

A man with two callings in life answered them both with one split second decision, but he doesn't think he did anything extraordinary.

"It was a quick moving fire," said Daron Gray, a pastor and a Warner Robins police officer, who believes he was at the right place at the right time.

"Everything happens for a reason, and as a man of faith, God orchestrated us being there at that time at two o'clock for a wedding rehearsal."

Just days before, the bride moved the wedding from Centerville to Forest Hill Park in Perry. Gray was leading the practice run when he heard a pop across the street.

"A pop to me as an officer is gunfire, so it immediately caught my attention and I looked to my right, which was north of the church, and I saw smoke coming out of a house," explained Gray.

He said his instincts as an officer kicked in. "Of course you catch yourself when you grab your radio and that doesn't work when you're in your suit from church."

He carried out the oath he took for his church and for his badge.

"I kicked in the front door. I don't think she realized that someone was there to help her, because she was yelling at me to get out of the house, which was kind of funny, and I was yelling back at her, 'No, you get out of the house,'" said Gray.

The woman in the house told him her mother, who was in her eighties, was bedridden in the back room in the home.

"So I made my way back through the house, and by that time the smoke is filling the house. I find an old lady there and she's got her phone to her face trying to call for help and I told her, I am your help," reflected Gray.

He said by that time the smoke was so bad he had to run outside to get a quick breath and run back inside the home. He went back in the house a third time to rescue an elderly man, and it was the fastest moving fire he'd ever seen.

"The smoke is the first thing that hits you just because of the amount of smoke, and it fills from the top to the bottom, " he said.

He told 13WMAZ other members of the wedding party were ready to help too, but he felt as a police officer it was his duty to keep everyone safe.

"My kids call me a hero. I say I'll leave that status to someone else you know. I'm just a man that wants to help."

Everyone made it out of that fire safely, but the house is a total loss. Perry's fire chief Joel Gray said the home isn't safe enough for the firefighters to investigate the cause.


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