LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC)– Although Prince George’s County firefighters were called to the scene of a residential blaze in Bowie Friday morning, a retired county fire lieutenant who just happened to notice a column of smoke while driving nearby was the one to pull the occupant to safety.

Billy Mills, who has been retired for about five years, “instinctively knew that the smoke he saw was from a structure on fire” when he was out and about just after 10 a.m., said fire department spokesman Mark Brady.

Mills arrived at the home, on the 16300 block of Pond Meadow Lane, at the same time as the first responders from Bowie Pointer Ridge Station #843. While the firefighters were putting on protective equipment, he walked to the back of the house in an attempt to determine its interior conditions.

In the backyard, he found a black lab barking and signaling to a sliding glass door. Mills looked inside and saw the disabled female occupant of the home on her knees and apparently unable to move closer to the door.

Mills pulled the woman from the burning house and, with the help of a neighbor, carried her to the front yard where she was treated by medics and transported to the hospital.

While the woman sustained burn and smoke inhalation injuries, they do not appear to be life threatening, Brady said. The lab was taken in by animal control for safe keeping until she is released from the hospital.

Firefighters later extinguished the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation and, while loss estimates have not been calculated, the home is uninhabitable.

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