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Clover man's action saves father-in-law from burning home

When he saw flames coming from the neighboring house where his 76-year-old disabled father-in-law lived, David Brocklebank immediately reacted Monday morning.

"I didn't think about it. I just did it. My father-in-law was asleep. I knew he couldn't get out by himself. I just did it."

Armed with only a flashlight, Brocklebank could barely see when he got inside the Mason Montgomery Road house around 3:15 a.m. Monday. The smoke, "took my breath away," he said.

He awakened his father-in-law, got his walker and helped himout of the house.

"He said my house was on fire, and I didn't know it. If he hadn't of gotten me out, I reckon I would've burned up in there," Andrew Montgomery told The Herald's news partner, WSOC-TV.

After his father-in-law was safe, Brocklebank went back inside the houses to retrieve Montgomery's glasses and prosthetic leg.

Everything else Montgomery owned - decades of family memories in a house he inherited from his mother - burned in the blaze.

Officials believe lightning started the fire that gutted the house in rural York County off South Beersheba Road.

Brocklebank wasn't awoken by the storm. It was the alarm on his wife's oxygen machine losing power that jarred him awake.

When he looked outside to see if his neighbors were also without power, Brocklebank noticed a flash of light at Montgomery's house just more than 100 feet away.

"I could see the whole back yard was lit up," Brocklebank. "I could see some flames and I knew it was on fire."

Investigators with the York County Fire Marshal's Office told Brocklebank the blaze appeared to be triggered by an earlier lightning strike and it may have been smoldering for some time. Lightning struck the power box on the rear of the home. The fire gutted the house, causing about $60,000 in damages.

"If I hadn't gone over there when I did, he would have died. By the time I came back, the flames were in the house. His bed caught fire about 15 minutes after I got him out," Brocklebank said.

Montgomery, who worked for the Rock Hill Printing & Finishing Co. for 52 years, lived by himself, but Brocklebank said they watch over him.

"I hate it for him. He lost everything," Brocklebank said. "He's a strong guy. He'll bounce back."