A one armed, one legged man named Fidel Morales saved two children from a burning house early Monday morning in the Bronx. Morales, who lost an arm and leg in a childhood accident, and his wife Diomares Morales were awoken by a fire in their home on Taylor Avenue.
Fidel, 54, woke up first around 4 a.m. to the smell of a candle that had caught the basement of the building on fire. He rushed upstairs to rescue his wife and their 17 month old son, Avel Morales, as well as Diomares’ niece, Vanessa Perez, and Perez’s one month old daughter.
Upon realizing that the fire was spreading too quickly, Fidel grabbed the children and rushed them outside to the second floor balcony. That’s when he noticed neighbor Wilgem Herasme, 34, who had just escaped with his wife, Niurka Grullon, 37, daughters Ashley and Kairy, both 14, and 13-year-old daughter Genesis. Wilgem told reporters, “I saw the family on the balcony crying. I was saying, ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme. Let him go.'”
Another neighbor, Francine Valmont, witnessed the event. “I saw him standing there and the baby was hanging on from his hands so I started to scream,” Valmont said. Fidel then did what he had to do. With his one arm, he was not wearing his prosthetic limb at the time, he first dropped his 17 month old son and then Perez’s one month old daughter. Both children were rescued successfully.
Fidel Morales, an employee of the NY Department of Corrections, then climbed over the balcony with his one arm and one leg and jumped to safety. He was taken to Jacobi Hospital along with others including his wife and son. In total, 12 were injured in the fire and two were in critical condition. The one armed, one legged hero was to be kept overnight and hopefully released on Tuesday.