CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - City of Charleston firefighter and paramedic John Montone is trained to deal with crisis and danger every day.
"It's just something I've always wanted to do," Montone said at the Central Fire Station located in Downtown Charleston.
As the impacts of Irma moved in Monday, so did a ferocious storm surge, which inundated city streets, cars and homes. Montone and other emergency crews arrived to a flooded Battery after noon.
"Conditions were getting worse. I mean it just was not a safe place to be," Montone said.
Concerned about people wading in waste-deep water, he moved in. Wearing water protective gear, the firefighter of nearly two decades suited up to move people to dryer ground.
"I just wanted to get them to a safe place," he said.
Montone's mission played out during Live 5 News severe weather coverage. Viewers witnessed him enter the water and turn people around on live television.
Montone captivated a crowd of onlookers as he grabbed two curious kids without a guardian nearby. He safely guided the kids to higher ground. The three marched through the heavy rain, high winds and blinding spray together.
"They were, honestly, the sweetest kids you'll ever meet. As we were walking back it was always, 'Yes sir, sorry sir,'" Montone said.
Many people have called the first responder a hero. He says it's just his duty.
He risked his own life to save others.