Reporting Sophia Hall
BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island home was destroyed but five lives and five pets were saved — because of a man who was just driving by.
“This is Houdini. This is Tinkerbell and Cody the chinchilla is running around,” Kathleen Calcano told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Calcano clutched her rabbits and doted on her dog “Holly” on Tuesday thanks to the quick action of a courageous passerby who rushed toward roaring flames, and banged on doors. The Calcanos, their pets, and college-age tenants made it out alive from their Brentwood home.
“Here this man comes down the road, sees my house on fire, doesn’t know me, doesn’t know anybody in the house, doesn’t know what he’s walking into and he helped us,” Calcano said.
It was after 1 a.m. when fire erupted on the carport and swept into the first floor. At precisely that moment a security guard from Patchogue happened to be driving by on his way to work.
“Everybody was sleeping, so I broke right through the front door, and started checking, and there was five people inside the house. I called the police and they were still trying to get to me, but I got all the five people outside,” Erick Landeros said.
“They probably would have burned,” Landeros told WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall. “Everybody was sleeping. Nobody knew about it. It’s horrible. Someone just lost their house… it makes you feel really bad.”
Amazingly, no one was hurt. Emergency crews burst on the scene with 50 area firefighters. The Calcano’s son, John, said the emotion was too much to bear.
“I pretty much heard her crying. She was screaming,” John Calcano said of his mother. “Yes, she was devastated.”
But a caring guardian angel kept them calm.
“I think it’s wonderful what he did. I hope people will start following his example and start taking care of each other more,” Kathleen Calcano said.
“I don’t feel like a hero. I feel like a normal person. I’m glad they are good and they’re healthy,” Landeros said.
What the Calcanos will always remember is that overwhelming tragedy has given way to the good deeds and kindness of a total stranger.
Kathleen Calcano grew up in the Brentwood home her parents helped build. She said she fears it will now be condemned.
What do you think of what Landeros did? Sound off in our comments section below.