Reporting Andrea Menniti
CROW’S LANDING (CBS13) — Fire raced through a home, trapping a 5-year-old boy. That’s when his grandfather jumped in to save him from the flames.
When you look at the damage to the home in Stanislaus County, it’s hard to believe anyone made it out alive.
But 5-year-old Jayden is alive because of his grandfather, Joe Vitoria.
“He calls me pop instead of grandfather. ‘Pop was a hero!’ I go, ‘I just wanted to get you out.’”
The boy was trapped inside the family’s burning home.
Jayden’s grandmother made it out OK, and when she couldn’t get back inside to save Jayden, she screamed for help.
Joe was working on the farm and heard the commotion.
“I said where’s Jayden?”
Once he learned Jayden was still inside the inferno, Joe jumped into action.
“I just grabbed my arm, shoved it through the window, cracked the whole window open and I started yelling for him,” he said. “I couldn’t see nothing in there. It was a black hole.”
Amid a sea of black smoke little Jayden emerged.
“He touched my hand, and I just grabbed him—pushed him right out.”
Joe carried the boy to safety as he watched his home of more than three decades go up in flames.
While the family lost all of their belongings, they are grateful little Jayden was saved.
“We are talking about split seconds. It could have been worse than what it is.”
A deep gash remains in Joe’s arm—a scar that will likely be a constant reminder of his heroism.
“It’s healing up, but it will be there the rest of my life.”
Sadly, family lost a pet in the fire—their dog, Bruiser. They suspect the smoke detectors in the home may have malfunctioned.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.