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Neighbor rescued Raleigh couple from burning house

Posted December 17, 2011
Updated December 18, 2011

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— A Raleigh family that lost all its worldly possessions in a fire Thursday night has a neighbor to thank for not losing their lives.

Brooke, Alanah and Kayla Humphries, ages 7, 8 and 9, knew just what to do when fried chicken on the stove started a grease fire in their grandparents' kitchen. 

"There was smoke everywhere and I was afraid," said Brooke.

One of the girls yelled, "Fire!" Then, forgetting about their toys and clothes, they rushed to safety.

"I couldn't breathe, so I ran out of the house with my sisters," she said. 

But Gene and Violet Humphries were still inside, trying to battle the blaze, the girls recalled Saturday.

"When she yelled, 'Fire!' it alerted me to go get Sean because he was the one we could trust to get Grandma and Papa out of the house," Kayla said.

Alanah, Kayla and Brooke Humphries Girls, neighbor save Raleigh couple from fire

Sean Hussick, who lives across the street and five doors down from the home at 320 Northfield Drive where the Humphries lived for more than three decades, did indeed get the couple out safely.

"Not even a minute after Sean came out of the house with Gene, the house just went up," Sean's wife, Jill Hussick, said. "Sean was holding on to Gene, and it just went, 'Boom!' and the windows just blew out the back." 

Black smoke billowed out everywhere.

"He couldn't even breathe," she said.

"He was our hero, and he saved Grandma and Grandpa," said Kayla.

Sean Hussick said he didn't want talk on camera because he doesn't think what he did was worthy of praise. His son, though, disagreed.

"I think my dad's a big hero, and I'm really happy for them," Ike Hussick said.

The Hussicks said it's the girls who are heroes.

"One of them had no shoes on, I really think it's just amazing. They knew to just leave the house and they said they were screaming, 'Grandma and Papa, get out, get out!' but Grandma and Grandpa were trying to put the fire out," Jill Hussick said. "But a grease fire, I learned a lesson, (with) a grease fire, you just get out of the house. You don't worry about anything else but yourself, and that's what the girls did."

Brooke says it was the Hussicks who inspired her and her sisters to be brave and rush for help.

"They're like heroes, and they helped us be heroes," she said.


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  • bettyboop40 Dec 20, 2011

    great job sean! thank GOD no one was hurt!

  • Fireflies Rock Dec 20, 2011

    such a great story....smart girls, hero neighbor

  • cwood3 Dec 19, 2011

    God bless you Sean. Gov. Bev, pay attention-NC Hero of the Year!!!!!

  • wkph Dec 19, 2011

    Way to go, Sean!

  • kermit60 Dec 19, 2011

    911 is a great but it's comforting to know there are still people willing to help out a neighbor in an emergency. Could have been a terrible outcome without the help of this guy. Great Job.

  • passport423 Dec 19, 2011

    "I'm glad no one was injured in this fire. I'd like to know I had a hero like this living close to me." itsmyownopinion

    Amen to that!

  • not my real name Dec 19, 2011

    Fire extenguishers can put out grease fires....so can flour if you have enough of it and catch it early. Glad everyone got out ok!

  • itsmyownopinion Dec 19, 2011

    I'm glad no one was injured in this fire. I'd like to know I had a hero like this living close to me.