Port St. Joe resident rescues family from burning house

Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 09:33 AM.

“The smoke was thick,” said Van Zant. “I couldn’t see an inch in front of my face.”

After Van Zant had located James, Jr. and gotten him out of the house, Betty told him that her dog, Candy was still inside. Back on his hands and knees, Van Zant crawled to a bedroom and called the dog until she followed him outside.

By the time he went back in for James, Sr., the fire had been smothered but not before doing significant damage to the stove, countertops and walls.

“He saved us,” said James, Jr. “He’s a hero. No doubt about that.”

Port St. Joe Fire Chief John Ford responded to the 911 call that Betty placed and was on-scene several minutes after Alex had cleared the home.

“I didn’t think. I just reacted,” said Van Zant. “I wanted to get everyone out.”

James, Jr. said that he’d been working long hours at his job and was “dead tired.”

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