Anthony Kucia knew when he was heading to McHenry to visit his family for the holidays that something might happen.
"I almost told my father-in-law - if something happens to me, please take care of my kids," said Kucia.
He had no idea he would end up saving three lives.
On Wednesday night, a fire started in the garage of a home at 534 Legend Lane; it then quickly spread to the unit next door.
His family saw the fire and they all ran out to help. Once they got close and saw the flames, they called 911, and Kucia knew he had to act fast.
"I started banging on the windows, yelling fire, fire, get out," said Kucia.
Without a second thought, the Navy lieutenant commander ran to save anyone he could.
"I got in and the wife was screaming, the child was screaming, and the husband was just trying to find the dogs, I guess he was trying to hook a leash on a dog, so I grabbed the daughter and hooked my arm around the wife," said Kucia.
He ran into the burning home two more times before he brought out a dog and the man inside.
"I just ran out with him, barefoot, he didn't even have a shirt on, he was totally out of it; it was just sad," said Kucia.
Firefighters were close; the nearest station is less than a mile away, and they got there within minutes, but Kucia knew from his navy experience that time was of the essence.
"A light went on, and I knew there was a family there, i had to do it, and i just said a prayer, I said 'God, please protect me; please protect me,'" said Kucia.
The fire is being called an accident. The residents all made it out OK, but two cats were lost in the blaze.
Kucia says he is just grateful that he was able to help.
"Thank God, i was in the right place at the right time," said Kucia.