LAWRENCE (CBS) – A hero from the Merrimack Valley gas disaster will attend the State of the Union address Tuesday night in Washington.

Lawrence police officer Ivan Soto helped evacuate neighbors during the explosions last September, even as his own house went up in flames. Once he confirmed his family was safe, he went back to work helping others.

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Ivan and Veronica Soto’s Lawrence home was destroyed in the gas explosions. (WBZ-TV)

Soto said he was on patrol recently when his cell phone rang. On the other end was one of Congresswoman Lori Trahan’s aides, saying she wanted to personally invite him to the speech.

“I didn’t know what to say! I never thought that I’d be invited to the U.S. Capitol and to be a part of a State of the Union, I think it’s incredible. So I’m very happy and fortunate to be a part of that,” he told WBZ-TV.

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Soto’s wife Veronica will be with him in the audience.

Ivan and Veronica Soto (WBZ-TV)

“I want to hear some positive news. I want to know that things are going in the right direction. I’m not really into politics, but anything that’s good for the country, I’m all about,” he told WBZ.

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You can watch the State of the Union at 9 p.m. on WBZ-TV and CBS