An off-duty Brevard Sheriff's deputy is being praised for his quick thinking over the weekend.

  • Off-duty Brevard deputy saved home from house fire
  • Deputy Marino-Votani was at golf tournament when he saw fire
  • Homeowner appreciative of deputy's actions

Vinne Marino-Votani traded a golf club for a garden hose to save a home from fire. It was a last-minute switch that had him teeing it up in a charity golf tournament at Baytree Country Club in Suntree Saturday.

"I was just a fill in; my brother couldn't play, so I took his spot," Marino-Vitani told Spectrum News 13 from outside his job at the Moore Justice Center in Viera, where he serves as a courthouse deputy.

"It was just me and another guy — a guy I just met that day," he added.

With just a couple holes to go, the pair was playing well and were in the running for a possible win.

That's when the 30-year off-duty Brevard Sheriff's deputy saw something a few hundred yards away that was out of place.

"We had just pulled up to the tee box, and I saw a plume of smoke," Marino-Vitani said. "Gray smoke across the lake, and not even on the golf course."

The men teed off, and then drove their cart closer. It turned out the plume was coming from a home along the course.

"We could see the flames," he said.

There were flames coming from the side of the house, and the fire was growing.

Wasting no time, the deputy's 30 years of experience kicked in, and they sped towards the fire. Marino-Vitani directed his partner to knock on the door, but no one answered. He called the fire department.

Turns out a pool pump was on fire next to the home.

"The flames were right at the soffit level, where the attic is," he describes.

The deputy grabbed a garden hose to battle the fire. Firefighters arrived and put it out.

Minutes later the homeowner and her son emerged from inside, seeing what had just happened and breathing a sigh of relief.

For Deputy Marino-Vitani, who retires this summer, he's glad he filled in for his brother in the tourney, even though they didn't win.

"We actually did pretty good in the game, I don't swing a bad stick," he said laughing.

The homeowners declined comment on the incident, but they told us they are appreciative of the deputy's actions, and are getting in touch with the sheriff to show their thanks for saving their home.