Paul Murphy was out for a jog in Scotts Valley, California, when he came across something that really got his pulse racing: Smoke billowing out of a house.
He approached the front door and rang the doorbell, trying to get the owners’ attention.
The Polito family, who lives at the home, was out of town at the time. Thankfully, they had a Ring doorbell installed, and Courtney Polito answered Murphy.
“I saw him running back and forth,” Courtney Polito said, according to WTHR-TV. “So I answered it and he said, ‘Hello, do you see there’s smoke coming out of the top of your house?’”
Video from the doorbell recording shows plumes of gray smoke, and you can hear the smoke detector alarms blaring in the background.
Once she realized the situation was serious, Courtney told Murphy their pets were still inside and asked if he would be willing to go in and rescue them.
He said yes. She told him the code, and he went inside and managed to safely remove their two dachshunds, their cat and their rabbit.
“It takes a special kind of person [to] go into a burning house to save animals,” husband Tony acknowledged.
Thanks to Murphy, not only were the family’s pets rescued, but the fire was stopped before it consumed the whole house.
“The fire department said 10 more minutes and the house would have been gone,” Courtney said.
While the fire was limited to the garage, smoke infiltrated the house, damaging cabinets and Christmas presents. The family’s car also sustained damage.
But Courtney is eternally grateful for the selfless measures Murphy took in the face of danger to save a complete stranger’s pets.
“I want to give him a hug,” Courtney said. “I’ll bring him to lunch. I’ll bring him dinner. … I just want to thank him so much and let him know how thankful we are. My kids, my husband, we would be devastated if we lost our pets, let alone our home.”
At first, the jogger’s identity was unknown, but he was later identified and the Politos were able to thank him personally, according to KSBW-TV.
It’s a modern miracle that the family had the Ring system installed and that it was able to help prevent a total loss. Scotts Valley firefighter Andrew LoFranco said it was a first.
“This is the first for our agency where someone uses a Ring doorbell system to alert 911 and the homeowners,” he said.
According to KSBW, the Scotts Valley Fire Department may “recommend a commendation” for Muphy.
Either way, he’s already a hero to this family and their four pets.