By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

NATICK (CBS) – Natick fire officials say a local woman is a hero for risking her life to save her upstairs neighbor during a Wednesday evening fire.

Laura Majkut was in her first floor apartment on Franklin Street when she heard incredibly loud banging and pounding coming from the second floor.

It turns out it was 15-year-old Gabriela Gonzalez who was home alone and trapped in her bedroom. The bed itself was burning out of control.

A light bulb had burned out in her bedroom, so the Natick High School freshman lit of piece of paper on fire using the gas stove in the kitchen. She was walking back to her bedroom, intending to light a candle with the paper.

According to Gabriela’s mother, Miriam Carriazo, the paper started “disintegrating and I guess it fell on the bed.”

Within seconds the bed was on fire, and Gonzalez couldn’t put it out. She soon found herself trapped in her room, unable to open the door.

“She just was basically screaming and trying to get out,” explains Carriazo. She was “screaming for help and banging on the door [and] on the floor as well so that someone could help her.”

Majkut heard those sounds, plus the smoke alarm going off, and knew that she had to act.

She ran upstairs to find heavy smoke billowing out of the apartment.

“All I know is that when I got up there I heard her screaming,” Majkut explains. “She needed help, and I got that door open and got her out and I’m very grateful for that.”

Majkut spotted Gonzalez’ foot on the floor. She pulled her out to safety and put her in car to stay warm as they waited for fire crews to arrive.

“These tragic events, they bring out the best in human nature,” said Natick Fire Chief James Sheridan, adding that Majkut, “put herself at risk to save her neighbor.”

“I think this child was just moments away from losing her life if not for the actions of this woman right here,” he said, speaking of Majkut.

For her part, Majkut balks at the hero title.

“It’s an uncomfortable word for me,” she says. “I certainly didn’t set out to be heroic when I went home from work last night.”

Gonzalez was hospitalized with the after-effects from smoke inhalation, but is expected to recover.


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