Two south Lake County men are credited with saving a man’s life after rescuing a 60-year-old resident from a house fire in Clermont on Wednesday.

Shortly before 5:30 pm., Brian Walker, of Minneola, was driving into a mobile home park at 660 Hooks St. so that his friend, Chris Desmond, could help repair Walker’s truck. Walker noticed heavy smoke coming from one of the residences a few doors away. Walker alerted Desmond, and the two men raced to the smoke-filled home.

“The smoke was so thick that at first I couldn’t see anyone,” Desmond, a painter, said.

Desmond then saw his unconscious neighbor in a chair that had a lit cigarette on it. Desmond and Walker carried the man out and then Desmond tried to douse the fire with water.

“We were coughing our lungs up,” Desmond said.

Clermont Fire Department and Lake County Fire Rescue responded and determined that the fire had started from the lit cigarette.

“Without the quick actions of these two men, the situation could have been catastrophic,” said Interim Fire Marshal Jennifer Pierce.

Chief Carle Bishop said Desmond and Walker will be honored in a ceremony in the near future.

“I commend them for their courageous efforts,” Bishop said.

The unidentified resident was transported to South Lake Hospital for treatment. No emergency personnel were injured, and the fire was contained to the single residence. Pierce said there were no working smoke alarms found in the home. She urged all residents to check their smoke alarms regularly.

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