Published: Nov 08, 2010 4:37 PM EST
Updated: Nov 08, 2010 1:37 PM EST

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - An air conditioning technician is being hailed as a hero after saving four Tampa residents from a fire.

Authorities say the blaze broke out around 10 a.m. Saturday while Joe Ynocencio was working on a heater nearby. The 31-year-old former Marine heard a scream and ran to help. He found 56-year-old Graciela Verdugo inside the front door and helped her to safety. She told him about three more people in the house and Ynocencio went back in to get them: Verdugo's adult son, his girlfriend and a 60-year-old man on a walker whose relationship to the family was unclear.

A fire marshal's investigator says the fire was caused by someone smoking on a sofa on the back porch. Strong winds may have fanned it.

After firefighters arrived and put out the flames, Ynocencio returned to his repair jobs, despite a burned arm.