'Thank you, you're a hero': Costa Blanca man saved from burning building by mystery street seller

Fiona Govan
Fiona Govan - [email protected]
'Thank you, you're a hero': Costa Blanca man saved from burning building by mystery street seller
Photo: Roberta Etter

Residents in Denia on Spain’s Costa Blanca are keen to track down the unknown hero who scaled a wall and climbed into a burning house to carry out a man trapped by flames.


The man, who is thought to be a street seller, spared no thought for his own safety when he climbed up and leapt over a first floor balcony to rescue the man inside.

The heroic act took place last Friday afternoon when a fire broke out in the house on Calle Port de Denia in the centre of the popular coastal town in Alicante.

A neighbour raised the alarm after smelling burning and on looking out of their front door saw billows of smoke emerge from the house next door.

READ  MORE:  'I may be poor but I have a heart': Costa Blanca's street hawker tells of saving man from building

Roberta Etter told The Local: "I could hear my neighbour Alex shouting for help and then whoosh, the fire seemed to catch and smoke billowed out of his window."

She explained that Alex, who is 39-years-old, lived alone with his dog and could hardly walk after falling ill a year ago.

"He hadn't been out of the flat in months, can only walk a few steps aided by a frame and used to lower a basket down from his balony so that we could send up groceries," said Etter. 

"He had one of those electric heaters and I think it was just too close to the couch and sparked a fire." 

She said that she and another neighbour tried to reach Alex and broke down the door. "The dog ran out and I grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to dampen the flames. I wasn't about to run into a burning building, I'm afraid. I'm no hero," admitted the American.

But then out of nowhere came a young man dressed in bright blue.

"This man came out of nowhere, he threw down a sack of goods he was carrying and then like spiderman he scaled the wall, and was up there and into the burning room," said Etter.

"He just threw Alex over his shoulder and came back down a rickety ladder. Alex wouldn’t have lasted another two minutes. The guy saved his life, there is no question about that." she said.

Alex was suffering from burns and smoke inhalation and was treated by paramedics at the scene before being transferred to the local hospital and then on to a specialist burns unit at La Fe Hospital in Valencia.

He has since been discharged and reunited with his dog and is now staying with a friend in nearby Benissa.

But he would love to say a personal thank you to his rescuer.

"Alex has posted a message on my facebook page to thank him but he would love to do it person."

People took to twitter to share the story.  

"In an era in which xenophobic messages that criminalize immigration are legitimized, there are scenes that exemplify that human goodness does not understand races:  A Senegalese immigrant saves the life of a disabled neighbor who had been caught in the fire at his home in Dénia," wrote Ibon Perez in a tweet alongside photos of the rescue.  

Far right party Vox has used anti-immigrant rhetoric, often using falsified and maniplualted data, as a key part of the campaign, which saw them win 54 seats in Spain's parliament in November elections. 




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