Neighbor saves grandparents, twin toddlers from house fire with minutes to spare

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - A Maryland man is being recognized for his efforts in helping to rescue a couple and their 18-month-old grandchildren after their house caught fire.

When a fire started in his neighbors’ garage late Saturday night, George Totoreanu caught sight of the flames from his window and ran to help. The former Army linguist banged on the neighbors’ door, where a grandmother and grandfather were watching their twin, 18-month-old grandchildren.

“The grandfather was a little bit in shock I would say,” Totoreanu said. “The flames from the garage were starting to hit the windows and the door.”

The flames were chewing through the roof, turning the brick black and gutting the townhouse. Totoreanu helped the couple and twin toddlers run out of the home in the nick of time.

“I was a little bit scared there at the end. Honestly, three minutes later, the house was pretty much all the way in flames,” Totoreanu said. “I was just thinking about how the kid doesn’t know what’s going on.”

It took 85 firefighters to put out the flames before the fire could destroy the neighboring townhomes. The firefighters believe the incident began because of an electrical problem in the garage.

The damage, which includes the grandparents’ car, is estimated to be more than $2.2 million, but everyone survived, thanks to Totoreanu.

“They may have lost material possessions, but they still have one another,” he said.

Totoreanu says there are three trees between his house and the house that was on fire. He says if this had happened in the summer, he might not have seen the flames so quickly.

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