LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It was the black smoke and the sound of screams that sent Michael Marinari running to his neighbor's house on Katie Court, on Saturday.
"I was a former Marine," he said, "I respond to emergencies."
Although this one was in his own neighborhood.
"It was a heck of a way to get introduced to all of my neighbors," Marinari continued.
That's because his neighbor, a woman whom he'd never met, would soon become this former Marine's mission.
"I was soaking my nails in some acetone, I was going to get my nails done. I had forgotten I normally light a candle to mask the smell. I took my fingers out, lit the match and my finger nails caught on fire," recalled Carla Caldwell, "I was trying to put it out myself, realized that I couldn't, ran out the front door and screamed for help."
The flames spread quickly but Marinari didn't hesitate to act, "Instantly, it was all about helping somebody."
"He did a good job, I mean, I've never seen someone hook up a hose as fast as he did," boasted Caldwell.
Caldwell said she tried to go back into her home to grab her phone and daughter's car keys but the smoke was too thick and turned back.
The fire destroyed the bed room, the living room, and the kitchen. Yet it was the quick response by Marinari, and another neighbor, an off-duty fire fighter, that likely saved the rest of the house, much of the Caldwell's keepsakes, and likely Carla Caldwell's life.
"He's the best!" grinned Caldwell.
Caldwell had to be treated for burns to her hand.