A homeless man hailed as a hero in Arizona was not a firefighter but he managed to save a family from a burning apartment.
More than the adrenaline rush, the man’s kindness and willingness to help gave him the courage to run to the apartment regardless of the enormous fire that welcomed him.
On the morning of May 18, Claudia Jimenez woke up with smoke and fire blazing around their apartment.
She tried to find a way out but realized her situation was hopeless. The front door was blocked so there was no way out for herself, her two small children, and their two dogs.
The fire was quickly spreading and there was nothing else Jimenez could do but plead for help.
“I opened my window and I started yelling ‘Please, someone help me, there’s a fire, I can’t get out through the front, I need someone to help me,” said Jimenez.
Joe Hollins, a homeless man camping near Jimenez’s apartment heard the woman’s screams. He ran to where the burning apartment was and found out about the helpless situation that the residents were in.
“All I see is a lady pull open the window and she’s screaming ‘Please help me, please help me,'” Hollins said.
Once he was under the window of the apartment, Hollins asked Jimenez to drop the children down and he would catch them. Jimenez instantly trusted the man and dropped her two kids, Valerie and Natalie as well as their two dogs.
Jimenez froze when it was her turn to jump. She was hesitant at first but Hollins reassured her. “She didn’t want to come at first. She was scared she was going to fall,” Hollins said. “I was like ‘I got you. Don’t worry.'”
Jimenez finally had the courage to jump and landed safely in the stranger’s arms. Soon, the fire department arrived and put out the fire.
As soon as things calmed down, Jimenez sincerely thanked Hollins for saving her and her family. Hollins said anyone in his situation would do the same thing. “Yes, anyone would. Those were children,” he said.
The said event made the homeless man hailed as a hero by Arizona residents. Even the netizens praised Hollins for saving the family from a horrific tragedy.
One of the commenters, Lyn T. wrote “He might not change the world with his great bravery but he sure changed the world for that lucky family. Karma will bless him every day until he dies.”
Another netizen, Ariana Houle was thankful for Hollin’s bravery and was amazed by his humility. “A hero never knows he’s a hero. May he be blessed with a new home and all that he desires. I’m in tears over this,” she wrote.
A lot of people hailed Hollins as a hero and offered to help if someone would set up a GoFundMe for him (Update: They did!). For Jimenez, however, Hollins was more than just a hero but an angel that came at the perfect time to save her and her family.
“I will forever be thankful to him, you know? Like I said, to me he was an angel. Because of him we’re here, we’re alive and my daughters are safe,” she said.
Like most building residents, the Jimenez family lost all their belongings but their neighbors are helping them get back on their feet and start a new life.
It may take time but what’s most important is that they had a second chance at life. Thanks to a kind-hearted homeless man who didn’t hesitate to save them. He is indeed a great man who deserves to be celebrated.
Watch how Hollins saved the Jimenez family in the video below: