How would you respond in the midst of a highly stressful and life-threatening situation, such as a house fire? Would you stay calm and immediately dial 911?
Carlos Matos, 10, of Healdsburg, California, did exactly this when his timely action helped avert a possible tragedy, saving the lives of six seniors.
On Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, at around 6 p.m., little Carlos was eating in the kitchen of the Magnolia Manor senior care facility in Healdsburg when he spotted smoke rising from the oven.
Reckoning there might a fire, the observant Carlos quickly alerted his mother, Liz Matos, who owns and manages the senior care facility.
Liz then opened the broiler at the bottom, and suddenly, “a huge flame shot up and started catching fire.”
“The upper cabinets were on fire,” Liz told KTVU.
Speaking to ABC 7, Carlos said, “It was scary. Flames reached the ceiling.”
But the quick-thinking mother sent Carlos outside and prompted him to call 911, while she went in and out of the smoky facility, evacuating six elderly residents.
“It was super scary. I wasn’t sure sometimes we were going to make it. But I needed to help them. They depend on me,” said Liz.
In the face of danger, Carlos calmly dialed 911 and provided the operator with all the information she needed to get the firefighters to reach the facility quickly.
“They said help is on the way and to take a deep breath. I was pretty scared and heavy breathing and stuff,” said Carlos.
Healdsburg Fire Marshal Linda Collister lauded Carlos for being a hero. She said, “Very cool head on his shoulders.”
Thanks to the duo’s quick thinking, these six elderly residents were able to move to safe grounds, unharmed, before the firefighters arrived.
“She was able to get them out in wheelchairs. When we got there they were outside in their blankets. We were all happy about that,” said Collister.
However, regrettably, the firefighters were not able to save the family-owned senior care facility, which was burned to the ground.
Other than enchiladas in the oven, everything was destroyed in the fire, including Carlos’s prized PS4.
Carlos Matos is ten years old. Now, the Healdsburg City Council will be looking at giving him a commendation after he…
The Rubik Cube had become charred and all of Carlos’s other games had melted. Though the fire damaged all his games, the boy was thankful that no lives were lost.
“At least we got the people out,” said Carlos. “That’s what matters.”
“I’m just happy everyone is safe. All the animals are okay,” he added.
Without a doubt, Carlos was pleased with himself for calling the fire department in the time of emergency.
“I feel like I did pretty good job,” Carlos said. “I did what I was asked to do.”
Of course, Liz couldn’t be prouder.
“I’m really proud of him. That was a lot of pressure to put on him,” she said.
Liz had the intention to rent a space where she could continue to care for elderly residents.
To help her rebuild the senior care facility, the Healdsburg community set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds. In January 2019, the senior citizens were moved to a temporary location in Healdsburg and were “comfortable and happy.”
As of Jan. 23, 2019, the fundraiser also garnered more than US$7,800 in donations.
One of the initiators of the GoFundMe page, SJS Kindergarten teacher Bernie Virapaeff told The Healdsburg Tribune, “Liz has a heart of gold and the patience of a saint and when tragedy struck we wanted to help her.”
Healdsburg residents Liz and Carlos Matos were honored at last night's City Council meeting for their bravery and quick…
Hopefully, everything will turn out just fine for the Matos family and their senior care facility.
It’s simply incredible as Carlos was able to stay calm and level-headed in such a life-threatening crisis, given his age.
Unsurprisingly, the Healdsburg City Council gave him, along with Liz, a commendation for their bravery and quick-thinking action that helped save six seniors.
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