Palm Bay man survives car fire explosion, runs into burning home to save pets

A Palm Bay man escaped a car fire on Monday and then ran into an inferno to save his pets.

The home on Hallmark Street SE is a total loss, and the newly married couple is starting over from scratch.

Blake Garrett’s BMW was parked in the garage, and he was sitting in the driver’s seat.

When he tried to start it, he saw a flame spark from the hood, and the rest is history.

The fire quickly engulfed the garage and spread to another car parked in the driveway. After Blake escaped the explosion, he didn’t run away from the fire. Instead, he ran inside to save what he could.

"I was sitting in the driver’s seat when everything kicked off," said Blake, showing FOX 35 around the home exclusively on Friday.

He realizes days later how the flames could have been the end for him.

"The only way I can explain it is a miracle, really. Five seconds more, and I wouldn’t be standing here today with you," said Garrett.

After narrowly missing death in the driveway, he put himself in danger again to save his three pets still trapped inside.

"I was just ripping through here," he said showing FOX 35 exclusively the route he took through the backyard into his bedroom.

"He ran into a burning fire and got my best friend’s dog and cat after almost losing his life," said his wife Elissa.

She was home when the fire broke out on Monday, but she’s thankful she can still hold her husband’s hand.

"It is a miracle that he wasn’t at least in the hospital," she said.

Two pets made it, but sadly, they lost their 2-year-old kitty cat.

"Stuff’s replaceable, but you know it just tears your heart out," said Blake.

The Palm Bay Fire Department says the car that caught fire had a mechanical failure and was full of fuel which added to the severity of the blaze.

Blake says it was a freak accident he probably shouldn’t have survived.

"I believe the hand of God was there to keep the flames off of me," he said. "I walked away with a little bit of singed leg hair."

Elissa posted their story on Facebook, and the support’s been overwhelming for the newly married couple.

"I’m just eternally grateful for such a wonderful community we live in," the couple said with gratitude.

Clothes, donations and messages from perfect strangers are now helping the couple process the loss and move forward from the flames.

The list of community organizations that have stepped in to help includes CenterPointe Church, East Coast Christian Center, Holy Trinity Episcopal, American Legion Post 394, and Royal Palm Charter School.

As for the cause of the fire, it's unknown to Blake and the fire department, who say, they have no reason to investigate any further.

The couple started a GoFundMe to help them rebuild.