A 20-year-old Hall County man is being called a hero after crawling to save an elderly, blind man inside a burning home.
Tray Ross works at a chicken plant on Purina Drive in Gainesville. He said his co-workers told him a home across the street was smoking. He said he told them to call 911 while he ran to see if someone was inside. By the time Ross reached the front porch, “I heard him hollering, ‘I’m in here. I’m in here,’” Ross said.
He said fortunately the front door was unlocked, so he didn’t have to kick it in.
“I crouched down, and I could tell where the smoke was. I could feel the heat. In no time, I was on my belly crawling like I was in the army or something,” Ross told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie.
Ross said the heat from the flames was burning the inside of his nose as he inhaled. But he listened for the man shouting his location inside the home.
“I was crawling, and I finally grabbed his ankle and whenever he grabbed my hand, I stood up and picked him up. I said, ‘I’m going to get you out of here,’ and he said, ‘That sounds great.’ I carried him to the front door,” Ross said.
After they were both safe outside, Ross said he asked him why he couldn’t find the front door.
“He told me he was blind,” Ross said.
The victim is also a 76-year-old man who has lived in the Hall County home his entire life. The man told Ross that his grandfather built the home. As he was riding in the ambulance to the hospital with Ross, the man asked for an honest answer if he would ever be able to return to his home. A paramedic broke the devastating news and said it was a total loss.
“He started crying. I started crying. The paramedic was crying all the way to the hospital,” said Ross.
Ross said he used to be a volunteer firefighter. He’s now a young father to a 4-month-old named Cooper. Lucie asked him why he rescued the man.
He replied, “That man's a father. If I were in his position, I would want someone to save me too,” Ross said.
Firefighters have not released the victim’s name but said he is going to be OK. Ross said he now wants to become a full-time firefighter.