Homeless man Anival Angulo was strolling down the street one day when he came across an emergency situation. With no police or firefighters on the scene, he decided to take matters into his own hands. First, he jumped a gate, and then he prized open a door to get inside.
Angulo is from Las Vegas, where he is unfortunately one of many homeless people living on the city’s streets. In fact, according to recent statistics, Las Vegas has one of the largest homeless communities in the U.S..
It’s not unusual to see people walking straight past homeless people, without sparing them a second thought. But 36-year-old Angulo recently gave the Las Vegas community something to remember him for. It all started back in December 2017.
One Friday morning Angulo was walking through the back streets of the city. He turned onto East Mesquite Avenue when he spotted something that immediately alarmed him. He soon realized that he had stumbled upon a terrifying situation.
The thing that caught his eye first was the smoke. He could see dark plumes of it billowing from a building at the end of the block. Angulo could tell that it was coming from an apartment building, so he went closer to investigate further.
But as Angulo approached the apartment block, he noticed something horrifying. He could hear people screaming. Worse still, he could tell it was children. At that moment, it was clear that he needed to step in. First, he leaped over a gate to access the property.
When he arrived at the apartment’s side door, he could see a young child inside. Angulo realized that the three-year-old girl was stuck behind a locked door. With the smoke still billowing out of the house, Angulo knew that he had to act quickly if he was going to save her.
But the door was made of steel and was therefore very strong. So Angulo did all he could. Although there was a deadbolt secured across the door, he somehow managed to pull at the door with enough force to bend it open.
As soon as she was free, the young girl ran to the homeless man and threw her arms around him. However, Angulo’s work was not done. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted something else. There was another child inside the property.
The smoke was becoming darker and thicker, but Angulo could see that there was a younger child left inside. So, he made the brave decision to enter the property, despite the risk to his own safety. Once inside, he found a ten-month-old baby on the floor.
He grabbed the infant and brought it to safety outside of the apartment. Once Angulo had both children safely away from the fire and smoke, he made sure to keep them a safe distance away from the property. Then it was time for the firemen to take control.
Firemen battled to put the fire out, and thankfully, they had it under control within about ten minutes. Meanwhile, the rescued children were transported to hospital to be checked out. Both had inhaled some smoke, but the most important thing was that they were alive.
The firefighters were the first to thank Angulo for his quick-thinking actions that day. Speaking to KSNV TV, Tim Szymanski, from Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, said, “It’s obvious if this person hadn’t been there, these children could have been burned or may have been killed in the fire.”
Although the children’s granddad was in the apartment, he hadn’t been able to get to them. The fire, which was started by a pan on the stove, made it impossible for the granddad, who was in the back bedroom, to reach the living room, where the children were.
But thanks to Angulo, who just happened to be passing by, everyone got out safely in the end. “I just knew I had to get them out,” the homeless man told a local TV station after the incident. Unfortunately, the apartment was left in total disrepair though.
The kitchen and living room were destroyed, and all the other rooms were damaged by the sheer heat of the fire and the clouds of smoke. The overall cost of the damage was about $50,000. Even the nextdoor neighbor’s flat was affected by the stove fire.
The Las Vegas Fire & Rescue team tweeted about the incident shortly after. In a report describing the emergency situation, they highly praised Angulo’s actions. The last part of the tweet read, “Both kids will be okay. The man is a TRUE HERO.”
And the firemen weren’t the only ones to think that Angulo was amazingly brave that day. A GoFundMe was set up by an attorney to reward the homeless man. And to date, the page has raised more than $1,700. Plenty of people have been inspired by the story too.
“God bless this man and his heroic courage. A family is alive because of him,” someone wrote on the fundraising page. And others took the opportunity to thank Angulo. “Thanks for putting the kid’s lives before yours. You quickly acted and those kids are healthy and here as a result,” commented another.
Thankfully, Angulo was in the right place at the right time when the terrifying fire broke out. While plenty of people would have called 911, not everyone would have had to courage to go inside the house and risk their own safety for the sake of strangers. For that, Angulo proved himself to be a total hero.