Colleton teen warns neighbors of spreading shed fire

{}By Ava Wilhite

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCIV) -- One day shy of his 16th birthday, Matt Rivers said he's ready to move on from a late night fire that destroyed his neighbor's house.

"I slept in the living room, and I woke up from the crackling of the fire," said Rivers.

The teen says he fell asleep on the couch after working on an essay for English class. It was around 1:30 a.m. when he heard the popping noise and reached for the back door.

"When I opened it, like the heat from the flames burned my face," said Rivers.

He quickly shut that back door.

"So, I ran and called 911 and I went out the front door and ran to the neighbor's house, but you could still feel the heat like from the dirt road. And then I went and knocked on his door, then got them out," said Rivers.

He said beat on the neighbor's door for about two minutes before he got any response. Rivers said his neighbors had no idea their house was on fire.

"I showed him the fire that was on the side of the garage and then I went inside and helped him up the garage so he could get the truck out," said Rivers.

According to the Colleton County Fire report, the shed was engulfed by fire when Rivers noticed it. Fire investigators say the fire started near the electrical breaker panel on the wall of the shed.

The Battalion chief on duty that night credits Rivers with saving lives.

"I just felt as if it should have been done," he said.

Rivers' grandfather Ernest Rivers was also awakened by his frantic grandson. Ernest Rivers said their house could've been a complete disaster.

"He didn't want to be called a hero, you know that's what he told me last night. He don't want to be called a hero so, we just thank him, you know?" said Ernest Rivers.