Valley elementary school custodian saves couple from house fire


MADERA, California (KGPE) – According to the Madera Unified School District one of their custodians pulled a couple from their burning house Thursday morning.

The fire broke out around 6 a.m. across from Eastin-Arcola Elementary School.

School principal Danene Guglielmana said Tony Martinez is their head custodian. She said he’s adamant he doesn’t want any credit, but staff and students think he’s a hero.

“It doesn’t surprise me a bit that he didn’t hesitate in this situation,” she said.

She said Martinez starts his day at 6 a.m. by cleaning the office, but when he got in it had already been done the night before, so he moved on to raising the flag.

She said this slight change put him in the right place at the right time.

“That timing of being outside and having a direct eyeshot of what took place would not have happened had he done his normal routine in here. He wouldn’t have probably noticed there was a fire going on,” Guglielmana said.

She said Martinez saw flames coming from a nearby house. He knew the couple who owned it and thought they would be inside. She said he didn’t hesitate to run into the burning home and found the pair trapped in the laundry room and was able to pull them to safety.

“I think lives were saved. I think they were in a very dire situation that maybe they wouldn’t be able to get themselves out of had somebody not come and helped and he came right at the right time. I think just in time,” Guglielmana said.

She said this month the students are focusing on the word “kindness” and staff like Martinez are truly leading by example.

“You can have a situation that’s very small and a situation that’s very large that you can have in front of you and just the ability to think about others.

The school also credits a cafeteria server. She called 911 and stayed with the couple until help arrived.

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