BOSTON (CBS) – A teenager said adrenaline took over as he ran into his burning three-story building in Mattapan early Monday morning. “I started smelling smoke in my hallway, so I had to make sure that everybody was okay,” 17 year-old Abraham Bonilla said.
There were a dozen people inside, including his mother, father and several neighbors. “I heard noise and people screaming downstairs on the second floor,” he explained. “I had to kick open the door and let them out.”
As smoke filled the stairwell, he then went back inside, and focused on helping his ailing mother. “By the time I got upstairs, the fire was spreading through the house so I had to pick my mom up and carry her down the stairs because she has asthma,” he said.
His mom, Marie, had just had surgery Thursday and was on medication that made her sleepy. “I had to get my Mom out. I had to. That’s the first thing that came to my mind. My Mom is everything,” Abraham said.
From the street outside, his mother saw just how close a call this was. “When I came outside I see the flames,” she said. “I see how my side is gone in flame and that was scary.” She is grateful her son came home when he did. She was already extremely proud of him, but even more now. “He is my son. He’s my hero also and he is everybody in the building’s hero,” Marie said.
Investigators believe the fire started in a second floor bedroom from a power strip that short circuited. Three firefighters were hurt, two with burns and one with a shoulder injury. All were treated and released.
The Bonilla family lost everything and did not have renter’s insurance. The American Red Cross is helping them with temporary housing. Abraham said they have what’s most important. “Anything can be replaced, but family, that can’t be replaced.”
Boston Fire estimated the damage to be $500,000.