'It was very split second': Off-duty volunteer firefighter rescues girl in burning house

Elijah Kale has been a volunteer firefighter since he was 14 years old.


Volunteer firefighter Elijah Kale was off-duty when he drove by a house fire.

“I knew something wasn't right, found out a girl was trapped up in there,” said Elijah Kale. “The smoke had filled the entire house.”

With no backup and no gear, Elijah, who has been a volunteer firefighter since he was 14 years old, found a ladder to rescue the girl trapped on the second floor.

“I believe she found a guitar and used that to break the storm window out. If she didn’t do that, the longer she was exposed to that smoke, the worse off it would have been for her,” Elijah said.“It’s a blur. It was probably 30 seconds from the time I pulled up until the time I got the ladder. Then another 30 seconds till she was out of the house and outside. It was very split second."

Elijah left the scene as soon as EMS arrived and she was in their hands. But hours later, he was called back to the scene to be recognized for his courage that saved a life. Elijah, however, says he was just doing the right thing.

“Big man up above, you know, just put me at the right place at the right time … just glad I was able to do what I did,” Elijah said.