Victor Esparza Jr. had just returned home after being deployed with the Army National Guard in Africa for a year. As he was settling in for his first night in his bed he heard his neighbors screaming for help. Victor – in his t-shirt and shorts – acted purely on instinct when he ran next door and picked up a garden hose to put out the blaze. “I was just spraying and spraying,” Victor explained. “Every once in a while, I stepped outside to get some air and go back in. The smoke was really hard on my lungs because it was just burnt plastic.” The homeowner Emily Elizando says she feared the worst when she saw Victor in the garage with only a hose, until she realized he knew what he was doing. Victor yelled out to her that he is also a fireman with the Northwest Volunteer Fire Department in Houston. A short time later his buddies at the department arrived for an unplanned reunion and to help put out the fire.
The family was lucky to have a hero next door. As for Victor, he didn’t mind helping even if it meant putting his own life at risk. “I love doing it because I feel good when I help somebody out” he noted.