Montgomery students on spring break help save people from burning FL house


A spring break trip quickly turned into a rescue mission when two Montgomery high school students spotted a burning beach house.

It happened along 30A, a popular vacation destination in Florida. Videos and pictures taken by the teenagers at the scene captured the devastation.

The students say they knew they had to take action because lives were at stake.

Ford Cleveland and his friend, Porter Simpler, were headed to get breakfast Monday morning around 9:20 a.m. when they spotted a fire at a nearby house.

“My friends and I were going to get breakfast at the Donut Hole. We pulled out of our street and when we were pulling out, we noticed that something on the ground was on fire next to one of the houses on our street,” Cleveland said.

At first glance, they thought the people staying there might be grilling something, but then noticed the flames spreading as a palm tree caught on fire. They sprung to action, to alert authorities and the people inside.

“I immediately called 911 and told them the address and that the house was on fire. My friend ran up to the house and banged on the door and got everybody out. By the time everybody got out of the house, it was completely in flames. The fire spread up the side of the building and caught the roof on fire and it burned down from there,” Cleveland revealed.

Cleveland, a student at Montgomery Academy, and Simpler, a student at Trinity School, are part of a group of students spending their spring break at Blue Mountain Beach along 30A.

They also ran to the house next to the burning home where a group of Montgomery Academy senior girls was staying.

The fire became so large it eventually spread to the girls’ home.

“They had to evacuate too because it melted the side of that house,” Cleveland said.

The people who rented the home that first caught fire lost a car in the blaze. Cleveland wasn’t sure if they are also Spring Breakers, but says they were definitely on vacation.

“They were able to get two of their vehicles out of the driveway. But another one, they couldn’t find the keys so it got annihilated in the fire. It was completely destroyed. The propane tank also caught on fire and started spraying everywhere and added to the chaos. It made it burn a lot more. When it exploded, everyone started getting really worried because their was just so much fire on the side of the house,” he added. “It caught the fence on fire, the grass, the bushes, the house, everything.”

Only one person was sent to the hospital as a result of emotional trauma but is expected to be okay,” according to Florida media. There were no other injuries, thanks to Cleveland and Simpler.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Ford and Porter’s actions caught the attention of local public safety agencies Monday. The Montgomery Fire and Rescue Department gave them a shoutout on social media commending them for their good work and to let them know if they’d like a to make a career out of saving others.

Ford Cleveland is glad they were in the right place at the right time to help the people inside the burning home.

“If we wouldn’t have been going to get breakfast then the people in the house probably wouldn’t have known that the fire was starting because it started outside of the house and spread outside to the top. If they wouldn’t have known, then they probably would have been trapped in the house because it spread really fast,” he said. “Because we were there, we were able to get them out as fast as we could.”

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