When 25-year-old Albert Madrid saw flames bursting from a mobile home in Highland, California, he thought only of the family sleeping inside.
Madrid and his girlfriend were returning to the trailer park shortly after midnight on March 9 when the pair saw the home on fire.
Madrid raced from his vehicle toward the home in an attempt to get everyone outside safely.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found that four people had been safely evacuated , including two young girls aged 4 and 7. The four suffered mild to moderate injuries, Cal Fire reported.
Tragically, Madrid did not make it out of the home alive.
Days after the incident, friends and family are still in shock, mourning the life of a man who was willing to sacrifice himself on behalf of others.
“He was only 25 years old but he was the bravest man I have ever known,” said Madrid’s father, according to KTLA-TV . “He is my hero, my son, a brother, and a grandchild.”
Madrid’s grieving mother, Irene Sainteclaire, is brokenhearted over her son’s death, but takes comfort in knowing his actions saved an entire family.
“He saved the little girls, the 4-year-old, the 7-year-old, the teenager and the grandpa,” Sainteclaire said. “He got them out. They were all asleep.”
“He was a hero,” Sainteclaire said. “That family came up to me and hugged me and told me, ‘We want to thank you, because your son saved the little kids and my dad.’”
Madrid’s sister Melissa Enriquez wants her brother to be remembered for his heroic, selfless actions.
“My brother chose to go in and help, and I want him to be remembered for that,” she said. “He is a good man.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help with funeral expenses during such a heartbreaking time.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Cal Fire reported.
“He will be loved and missed by his friends and family,” Robert Madrid wrote about his son. “I am so proud of my son, my hero.”