On 24 September 2012 in Troutdale, Oregon, fire broke out at the house of the Ma family. Cody Ma, age eight, locked himself in a second-floor bedroom. Neighbor Marcos Ugarte, age 14, used a ladder to climb to the bedroom and rescue the boy. The boy’s father, Alex; mother, Suzanne; grandmother Yim; and brother Nathan made it out of the burning house safely. Suzanne Ma called 911. The operator asked, “Can you get your son out?” Suzanne replied, “Yeah, we tried to, but he locked the door. He won’t open it.” Marcos and his father, Eduardo, were in their home four doors away; they heard screaming. Eduardo said, “As soon as we realized it [the screaming] was coming from the house down the street, I assumed they were just arguing. I said to Marcos, ‘Let’s just leave them alone.’ But Marcos said, ‘No, Dad, look at the glow behind the house.’” Eduardo added, “When I arrived at the door of our neighbor’s house, he [Alex Ma] was stumbling down the stairs because he had been completely engulfed in flames. He had soot coming out of his nose and his mouth; he had just ingested so much of it.” Eduardo ran into the house, but eight-year-old Cody had locked himself in a bedroom. Gresham Fire Battalion Chief Mark Maunder said, “The boy has ADD [attention deficit disorder], and he decided to run into another bedroom on the second floor and locked the door so whether he was scared or just trying to hide from the fire we’re not sure.” Marcos grabbed a ladder from the backyard and climbed to the second floor to the bedroom Cody had locked himself in. He broke through the window and rescued Cody. Marcos said, “I took the ladder, and I propped it up on the window, and I crawled up the window and punched the screen out and grabbed the seven-year-old boy—about seven, he looked seven—and grabbed him and carried him down the ladder.” Eduardo said, “There was just so much adrenaline going on. This doesn’t surprise me that he just takes initiative and gets the job done. He is in my eyes a true hero.” Alex Ma said that the Ugartes are “my heroes. They’re my son’s heroes forever.” Except for some smoke inhalation that was treated, no one was hurt in the fire. Gresham Fire Battalion Chief Maunder said, “You just don’t see a 14-year-old kid have the composure that Marcos did in order to attempt that rescue.” Eduardo said about his son, “I think it’s awesome. I hope that he would perhaps through this recognize that God has a purpose for him.” Marcos said, “Just glad I got him out, too, and you guys are all safe and weren’t hurt.”
For Further Information: Jennifer Abbey and Anthony Castellano, “Oregon Family Thanks Teen for Rescuing Boy From House Fire.” ABC News. 26 September 2012 <http://abcnews.go.com/US/oregon-family-teen-rescuing-boy-house-fire/story?id=17326114#.UGRe7K5bivk>.