“I Kept Praying and Reminding God that Since I Only Came to Save an Innocent Baby from a Horrendous Death, My Life Should Also be Spared”

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In August 2013 in Makurdi, Benue, Nigeria, electrician Michael Anthony went into the burning house of a neighbor to rescue a crying baby. Although he suffered painful burns that required expensive medical treatment, he did save the life of the 13-month-old baby girl. This is the story in his own words: “The fire started that evening without anybody noticing it; before anyone knew what was happening, the inferno had spread like wild fire, engulfing the entire house. At th[at] point, people in the neighborhood made desperate efforts to rescue three children from the fire, but the inferno intensified. Unfortunately, we were still hearing the cry of a baby from the house and given the intensity of the spreading fire, nobody was ready to risk his life in order to save the crying baby that was trapped in the building. Though people had already made telephone calls to the state fire service, it became obvious that the baby might be consumed if nothing urgent was done to save her. There was wailing and crying by the helpless neighbours who were shouting for help to rescue the baby, but no one was ready to take the risk because at that point it was as if the entire building would cave in and collapse on the crying baby. It was at that point that I summoned courage, said a word of prayer and dashed into the raging fire because I could no more stand the cry of the dying baby. I was able to locate her in one of the rooms where she was trapped; I picked her up and managed to throw her out of one of the windows from where neighbours took her away. But from that point, part of the roof of the house collapsed on me, and it became difficult to trace my way out of the engulfed house and the windows of the building had burglary-proof [bars] and I couldn’t squeeze myself out. I thought it was all over for me because part of my cloth[e]s and body were already on fire and I was gradually choking and was no longer seeing the outside of the building. All I was hearing at that point was people shouting that I was dead and no one attempted to come near. But I kept praying and reminding God that since I only came to save an innocent baby from a horrendous death, my life should also be spared. Though at that instance, parts of my body were already on fire but I managed to push forward with all the strength within me, and I finally made it out miraculously. At this time I was completely exhausted and could hardly recognize anybody and in serious pains since my body had already started burning. Luckily, my parents and other onlookers rushed me to this hospital where I am presently receiving treatment.” He was hospitalized at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital. His father, Mr. Anthony Anthony, a trader from Enugu state, said, “I have no regrets for the action my son took to save the little baby; in fact, every Nigerian should learn from this singular action. We must all learn to be our brother’s keeper irrespective of who and what you are. My only plea is that Nigerians should please not allow my son to die from the burns he had suffered. He is in so much pains and we lack the finance to take care of him. If that is done, I’ll be a satisfied man and Michael will also be happy and not regret that he put his life on the line to save an innocent life.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Michael Anthony died from his fire wounds on 15 September 2013. His brother, Charles, said, “He died last night [Sunday]. I can’t even fathom this. My brother had high hopes of going back to school and becoming an important person in the society.” Michael said before dying, “I’m grateful, however, that the attempt [to rescue the child] was successful. I don’t in any way regret my action. No matter what it turns out to be [life or death], my joy is to make heaven at last.” Michael’s father, Mr. Anthony Anthony, said, “There is no cause for regret since my son did a marvelous work and died in the cause of doing good. He was a friend of little children right from his childhood and that was what propelled him to risk his life.” Michael’s mother, Edith, said, “I give thanks since it is the will of God.”

For Further Information: Peter Duru, “Nigeria: Narrow Escape for Good Samaritan — Who Plunged Into Raging Inferno to Save 13-Month-Old Baby.” Vanguard. AllAfrica. 28 August 2013

http://allafrica.com/stories/201308280800.html/?maneref=http%253A%252F%252Fnews.google.com%252F&viewall=1

For Further Information: “Tears flow in Makurdi as brave man who rescued baby trapped in a burning house dies.” Nigerian Eye. 21 September 2013

http://www.nigerianeye.com/2013/09/tears-flow-in-makurdi-as-brave-man-who.html

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