Homeless Man Rescues Family From Fire, Hailed a ‘Hero’ by the Community
A community in Phoenix, Arizona is rallying around a homeless man who sprung into action and saved an entire family from an apartment fire.
Joe Hollins heard Claudia Jimenez’s screams on May 25 after she awoke to see her apartment burning. Hollins and his wife were the only ones around, so he stepped in and saved Jimenez, her two children and their two dogs.
A homeless bystander becomes an overnight hero
The fire started early on Thursday morning, according to CBS News. When Jimenez woke up in the apartment alongside her two young daughters, she realized she could not get out through the front door.
She opened her window and started screaming for help. However, the only people nearby were Hollins and his wife, two homeless people who were sleeping in an area near Jimenez’s apartment building.
Hollins was able to respond before firefighters arrived on the scene, helping the two young girls, two dogs and Jimenez escape.
Hollins stood by the family through their fear
“He was right underneath,” Jimenez told CBS. “He was like ‘Yes, throw your daughters out, I’m going to catch them, I’m going to get them.'”
She threw her 1-year-old daughter, Valerie, down to Hollins first. Then 8-year-old, Natalie, followed. Soon after, Jimenez gave Hollins her two dogs before having to jump herself. Hollins said, “She didn’t want to come at first. She was scared she was going to fall.”
Hollins said he assured Jimenez he would catch her, which he did. Jimenez says she owes her own life and the lives of her family to him.
“I will forever be thankful to him, you know?” Jimenez said. “Like I said, to me he was an angel. Because of him, we’re here, we’re alive and my daughters are safe.”
For Hollins, it was about doing the right thing. “Those are children,” he told CBS.
The community is helping the families rebuild
There are now separate funding campaigns for the Hollins and Jimenez’s families. The Phoenix community wants to give both families a chance to rebuild their lives; donations are already rolling in.
According to AZ Family, a local team dedicated to the homeless community met with the Hollins family and found space for them in a shelter in the city.
A kind stranger from Las Vegas named Sara Nelson started a fundraising page for Hollins after she noticed the Jimenez family had one but he didn’t.
“If we can get this man money that he needs to get an apartment, it can hopefully get him on a path where this will jump-start his life,” she wrote.
Hollins is thankful for the support from the community but says he didn’t do it for the glory, “I did it because there was a family in need,” he said.