SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Fierce flames ripped through a family’s home in Southwest Miami-Dade on the first day of the year.

The relatives of the family managed to make a fire escape before the fire department showed up, thanks to a quick-thinking good samaritan.

It happened just before 2:30 a.m. on Monday when Stacey Ellis heard a lifesaving knock at the door of his mother-in-law’s home.

“I was watching television, someone came and knocked on the door and I knew it wasn’t a normal knock so I ran to the door,” said Ellis. “So I ran to the door, opened the door and they showed us where the house was on fire.”

Jacek Bogdanienko and his wife, the neighbors who live down the street, saw the blaze while coming home from a New Year’s Eve party.

“We stopped the car and we see the flames, every moment higher and higher,” said Bogdanienko. “That the fire was too big to be secure. First what I did was take the phone, call 911.”

Realizing just how big the blaze was, the couple made sure everyone inside got out safely.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded quickly.

The damage to the home turned out to be so severe, it’s now unlivable.

But Ellis and his family said they are just grateful to be alive, hailing the heroes that saved his life.

“They saved our lives and I thank God they were walking by, or passing by,” Ellis said.

And for Bogdanienko, he believes they did what any neighbor would do.

“It was what every neighbor needs to do in this situation to another neighbor,” he said. “We don’t really feel like heroes.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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