Steve Montelongo of Modesto, California, has quite the heroic resume. He has saved not one life, not two lives, but three lives.
In 2002, Montelongo noticed his neighbor’s home was on fire, started by a gas leak, according to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission’s website. Kathirne Mattox, 80, and Wayne Maxwell, 79, were both trapped in different parts of the house.
“Heard the explosion, ran over to see what was going on,” he said, according to KCRA-TV. “I thought it was my house. It was the neighbor’s house. Ran over there. My son was trying to get in the door. He couldn’t, so I said, ‘Move, let me try.’”
Montelongo, 62 at that time, didn’t hesitate to break down doors and rescue them — first Mattox and then Maxwell. He even gave Maxwell the shoes off his own feet before kicking down another door and helping Maxwell escape.
As a result of his daring and courageous rescue, Montelongo was