Originally posted at 11:59 p.m. July 6, 2014. Edited to correct the age of the resident.
An off-duty Marine driving by a Mission Viejo home today noticed smoke and flames and stopped to warn and evacuate the residents, including one man who suffered respiratory injuries trying to put out the fire, an Orange County Fire Authority captain said.
The smoky fire was coming from the air conditioning unit of a home in the 26600 block of Alicante Drive, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.
"The outdoor fire started in an air conditioning unit and spread to the structure," Concialdi said.
"The Marine saw the smoke and fire, knocked on the door and got the people out," he said. "There was an explosion too."
"A resident tried to put out the fire with a bucket of water," Concialdi said. "Instead he was overcome by smoke inhalation and received respiratory tract burns."
The 51-year-old man was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries, which Concialdi said were preventable if he had just waited for firefighters to arrive. They quickly put out the fire and damage was limited to $10,000. "Call 911 and stay away from the fire," he said.
The Marine didn't want any recognition for alerting the residents to the fire.
"He felt he was just in the right place at the right time," Concialdi said. "That's so common with these Marines. They step into action and they don't want any recognition."
--City News Service