MANASSAS, Va. - Two Manassas men are being hailed as heroes after rescuing two children from a burning townhouse Wednesday afternoon.
There were several people inside of the home on Bretton Woods Drive at the time of the fire and several of them were able to get out when the fire broke out. But there were two boys trapped on the second floor and neighbors heard their screams for help.
“I didn't know what was happening,” said Fatima Torres. “I just saw smoke.”
Torres and other neighbors were shocked to see smoke pouring from the house in their neighborhood. Her father Alex was just arriving home from work. He said when he ran up to the burning structure, the two young boys were trying to get out of the second-story window.
“I saw three people talk to the kids on the roof [saying] ‘Hey, jump! I'll catch you,’” said Alex Torres. “I saw it and said, ‘You can't jump. You will break your leg. I will go get my ladder.’”
The Good Samaritan works for a tree trimming company and ran to grab the 20-foot ladder he stores in his backyard. He went into action before the firefighters arrived.
“You think too much, it's too late,” he said. “You want to do it fast, quickly.”
Torress and another neighbor were able to use the ladder to help the kids get to safety.
But then there was another tense moment when one boy ran inside the front door to free his dog. Fortunately, the boy made it back out with the animal, but the family had another dog that did not survive.
Firefighters arrived within minutes, but said the two men who helped are heroes.
“They made the choice to put their lives on the line as well to essentially give a helping hand out to a neighbor,” said Manassas City Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Todd Lupton.
Torres did not know it at the time, but one of the boys he helped goes to school with his daughter.
“I feel proud of him that he helped them and he didn't hesitate,” his daughter said.
The family who lived in the burning home is being assisted by the American Red Cross. It is unknown whether or not they can return to back to their home. The cause of the fire still under investigation.
The City of Manassas told FOX 5 they plan to recognize Alex Torres and the other man who helped save the children.