PLAQUEMINE - It started as a three-hour long fire that destroyed a house in Plaquemine early Saturday morning and sent two people to the hospital.
The blaze burned down the home around 5:30 a.m. on Patureau Lane. The fire left the Henderson families decades old home and car in a pile of ashes and rubble.
When the flames consumed the home, it was the heroic actions of one neighbor, that saved two lives.
“Oh, God he saved both of their lives. He was brave, he could have died too," said Betty Henderson, the daughter of the 87-year-old woman trapped inside the home when it set fire. "He wasn't thinking about his life, he was thinking about getting my mom and brother out.”
Nicholas Bovay, the man whose daring rescue have him being referred to as a hero, said it was his instincts that guided him into the burning home.
“My instincts just kicked in. I dropped my phone, and just took off and ran to the house and banged on the door," Bovay said.
Bovay was walking down the street when he saw the massive fire at his friend's home. After calling 911, he realized the elderly woman and her adult son were still trapped inside.
After multiple attempts to reach the trapped residents, Bovay finally located the woman. He got her outside safely and immediately ran back inside the burning home, looking for an entrance to reach his longtime friend still inside.
After four failed attempts to find the man, Bovay located him in the front room of the house.
“I entered the house through the front door, and I saw his feet, through the smoke,” Bovay recalled.
The man was pinned between a piece of wood and the floor, left unconscious from smoke inhalation.
Bovay then attempted to pick the unresponsive man up and get him outside. But, what happened next pushed him even further.
“I grabbed for his feet, but the smoke overcame me and we both fell.”
On the ground, Bovay had two choices. Give in or get out.
“Either we were both leaving forever or we weren’t getting out. It was all or nothing," Bovay said.
Bovay went into survival mode.
“Just all adrenaline... I felt that I could save him, so I went in and that's what I did.”
After the near-death experience, Bovay feels like he was meant to be there.
“I feel good. Actually, I feel great... Great knowing I saved their lives," Bovay said. "I know if I was in the same situation, they would do the same.”
As for the family, they're spending their days at the Baton Rouge General Hospital's Burn Unit, tending to their recovering relatives. And they can’t thank Nicholas Bovay enough for his fearless rescue.
“I just want to say thank you Nick, so much. Because if it wasn't for you, my mama and brother wouldn't be here. And I thank you from the bottom of our hearts and I love you so much,” Tamika and Joann Henderson said.
The male burn victim suffers from second degree burns and is still sedated. The elderly woman is talking and on the road to recovery. Both remain at the hospital.