PISCATAWAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Middlesex County man is being hailed a hero after rescuing a family from a fire.
The shell of a house is all that remains on West 4th Street in Piscataway after an early-morning fire Tuesday.
A family of seven was inside when it went up in flames.
CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke exclusively with Angel Gomez, who was trapped along with multiple children.
“I was yelling out the window, ‘help us, help us!'” Gomez said.
Luckily her neighbor across the street, Mario Reyes, jumped into action.
“This man was an absolute hero. He caught babies, he broke down bars. And if they didn’t react the way they did, I’m certain that no one would have survived that,” said Bianca Clark Muhammad.
Neighbors said they woke up to popping noises that sounded like gunshots.
Muhammad called 911 as she went outside to see what was going on. That’s when she saw her hero neighbor.
“We saw that he took the sledgehammer and he knocked down the bars that were on the basement window. And we saw the man come out, so I ran inside and I grabbed some clothes,” she said. “They had no clothing on, they were in their pajamas, they were sleeping. It was cold out.”
Gomez said the only way out was through a second story window.
“I said, ‘I’m going to throw my kids down, I’m going to throw them to you.’ I started throwing my kids down, and he was catching them. Every throw, he would catch them,” she said.
The Reyes family then took the children inside their home.
“I really thank God for him, because he didn’t drop them at all. He was just catching them, catching them, catching them,” said Gomez. “He really saved us, he saved our lives.”
Reyes’ son translated for him, saying he didn’t think twice, with four children of his own.
“He said him and his wife did what they had to do,” his son said.
All of the family members, including two babies and a toddler, were taken to the hospital to be checked out.
Baker was told everyone is well, thanks to Reyes.