Man grateful to be alive after Miami-Dade firefighters’ rescue

DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - A man saved by first responders from a fire in his Southwest Miami-Dade home, last month, said he is grateful to be alive, having now survived his second close brush with death.

Anthony Villa’s home went up in flames as he slept, Dec. 23. Miami-Dade firefighters found him in cardiac arrest on the floor, unconscious and without a pulse, but they were able to resuscitate him.

“I cannot stop being grateful. I cannot stop being grateful,” Anthony said. “The moment they went to put an IV in here is when I woke up and hurt so much, and that’s when I asked, ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Well, your house burned down. We pulled you out in full cardiac respiratory arrest, and we resuscitated you.'”

Anthony believes an electrical error may have caused the fire, which ultimately burned down his home. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue believe the stove may have accidentally been left on.

“I don’t even want to imagine how black it was in there because my kitchen melted,” Anthony said, “so the black, it had to be by touch — by the back of their hands, how they do it — and I think that’s how they found me. They touched me, ‘Yeah, I think I have someone,’ and that was it.”

Villa knows the techniques firefighters use because his father, Antonio, is with the City of Miami Fire Rescue. Last week, Antonio visited his fellow firefighters at MDFR and thanked them for saving his son.

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“When you see everything that had to happen for him to be here, I say it’s a miracle, some good luck, and my guys in the back who did a great job,” said Antonio Villa, Anthony’s father.

Anthony has fought for his life before. In 2013, a benign brain tumor affected his memory for one year.

“Aggressive enough that it affected my short-term memory for a year,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to have this interview. I’d ask you three times, ‘What was I saying?'”

Anthony is now left to live in a hotel room in Doral, but having survived a brain tumor and this house fire, he believes there has to be a reason he’s still alive.

“I just know this: There’s gotta be a purpose I have here. I just haven’t met it yet,” Anthony said. “Why else would I be here?”

Part of that purpose may be his three children, who thankfully were not inside the home when the fire started.

“My children are everything. If I die, whatever, it’s sad,” Anthony said. “Not my children, not my children.”

If you’d like to help Anthony, visit his GoFundMe page:
https://www.gofundme.com/am-friends-house-burned-down?ssid=860425368&pos=1

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