JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There's not much left of the home in the Eagle Bend neighborhood.
"He said he was only able to grab a laptop and some clothes and the rest was destroyed," Steve Leggett said of his neighbor's home.
He was on his back porch Wednesday night when he smelled the fire.
It wasn't long before he saw it.
"When I got here, I said 'oh my goodness.' I could see the flames coming through the roof," he said.
Leggett was a firefighter in Jacksonville for 30 years before he retired, so his instincts kicked in.
"A couple of the neighbors, and myself, we grabbed a hose and tried to get it laid out to fight the fire," he said.
The first fire engine wasn't far behind them, but Leggett said he was shocked when only two firefighters got out.
"You need a minimum of three people on an engine company. I was on a ladder company for years, and you need a minimum of four there. But anything less than three is very difficult, very difficult," said Leggett.
After budget cuts, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department has rearranged how it staffs some of its stations, which worries Leggett.
"I know they're in a financial crunch with the city, but the safety of the police and fire is the last thing you want to cut, the very last thing you want to cut," he said.
Leggett praised the work of the firefighters that were on scene for their quick work and organized response.
But he said people can only do so much.
"When you have an apparatus like that, that's short of manpower, you're jeopardizing the lives of those firemen," he said.
A spokesman for the fire department said the first truck was there in just seven minutes, which is a typical response time for the city. He said support trucks quickly responded, and the station was staffed appropriately.
First Coast News