FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. – A California grandmother is being heralded for her bravery after risking her own life to save her 85-year-old neighbor from his burning apartment.
Maria Garcia told KCAL that her new neighbor’s safety was her first thought when she smelled smoke and saw flames shooting out of the 85-year-old man’s San Luis Street home on Thursday.
After fighting thick, black smoke, Maria Garcia said she found the man alone and naked in his living room, calling for his service dog.
“So, I just go inside. I see the man naked, so I just grab him and the dog. So, I put some clothes on (him), and carry him out,” Maria Garcia told the TV station. “He was alone. I just want[ed] nothing to happen to him.”
Ezequiel Garcia, Maria Garcia’s son, told KTLA that the rescue was stunning.
“My mom was coming out of my neighbor’s house, covered in flames, carrying him out,” he said.
According to KCAL, the Garcias’ neighbor had moved in the day before the fire and suffered burns to his head but is expected to recover fully. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
“It’s something really special. She risked her life … to save others. That’s just – I don’t know. I don’t have the words to describe it. It’s amazing,” Ezequiel Garcia told the TV station.
The Garcias, meanwhile, have been displaced by the fire, which spread to their home and threatened other structures, prompting the three-alarm response.
A GoFundMe page, set by Ezequiel Garcia, has been established to raise money for food, accommodations and clothes until their home is deemed habitable again.
The Garcias are among the as many as 21 people displaced by the fire, KCAL reported.