Man hailed as hero after pulling elderly neighbor from Miami Gardens house fire

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - A good Samaritan risked his life to save an elderly woman inside her home as it caught on fire.

Family members said 93-year-old Maria Cabral typically lights a candle every night in the corner of her home. On Monday night, as the candle was lit, the flame caught onto the wall, causing the house fire.

The home, located along Northwest 170th Street and 30th Avenue, appeared to be destroyed with the walls charred and the roof ripped open.

“She cannot rebuild. She’s 93 years old, she cannot rebuild,” her son Fernando Cabral said. “She don’t have no insurance. Life not gonna be easy.”

Cabral stood in her hallway as the house began to burn, but her neighbor Altavious Powell decided to step in. He used the cast on his arm to break the window of the woman’s home and get inside to rescue her.

“The first thing when I smelled the smoke, I ran toward the fire,” Powell said.

The victim was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center for smoke inhalation. Her family said she will be OK.

They credit her neighbor who lives across the street. Powell has known Cabral his whole life and was there to save the day.

“I just kept breaking the window until I broke it all out,” Powell said. “I know once I get the water hose, I’ll be able to put the fire out.”

Although he has a broken arm, Powell knew he wanted to get his neighbor out. He used his cast and a plastic chair that was outside to break in.

“I said, ‘Mommy, mommy, where you at?’ And she said, ‘I’m right here,’” he said. “She was right here like standing on the wall, so I just grabbed her with one arm. She looked up at me, she just said, ‘Thank you.’”

When asked how he feels knowing that he’s a hero for saving a life, Powell said, “In a sense I am, but I know her. She watched me grow up since I was a little boy.”

Flavia Cabral, the victim’s daughter-in-law also wanted to thank Powell for his help.

“Thank God for the neighbor across the street,” she said. “He saw the fire and broke the window to be able to take her out of the house.”

“She wouldn’t get out of the house alive if that man didn’t come here,” Fernando said.

Powell was treated for smoke inhalation on the scene but will be OK.

“I’m just glad I was able to do it and I got it over with, and everybody is safe now,” he said.

The elderly woman continues to recover at JMH, according to her family.

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