"We're just two members of a good group of firefighters," said Captain Robert Mitchell.
The blaze broke out just before 9 p.m. in the 1400 block of Kincaid Drive off New Hope Road.
74-year-old Pete Watkins called 911 from inside the home before he was overcome by the smoke.
"It was not a survivable atmosphere. We had our gear on," said Mitchell.
After fellow firefighters starting putting water on the blaze, Mitchell and Lieutenant Brandon Hopkins ran inside and pulled Watkins outside. He wasn't breathing, so they started CPR.
Watkins was breathing on his own as he was rushed to Wake Medical Center - and later flown to the UNC Burn Center in Chapel Hill. He remained in critical condition Tuesday.
A Raleigh police officer and another man who tried to rescue Watkins before firefighters arrived were treated for smoke inhalation.