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‘Our guardian angel’: Good Samaritan reunited with 11-month-old he saved from a house fire

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

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‘Our guardian angel’: Good Samaritan reunited with 11-month-old he saved from a house fire

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Updated: 9:00 AM PDT May 12, 2024

On Monday, May 6, a house went up in flames in Cleveland, Ohio. Inside at the time, a mother and her twin 11-month-old girls. The smoke was so thick that Samantha James said she could barely see or breathe to get out.James managed to escape with one of her twins, Lotus. On Thursday, the whole family is safe and recovering, thanks to a total stranger who jumped out of his car and ran into their burning home to rescue the baby inside.Thursday morning, the family was reunited with their hero, John Stickovich. Stickovich said he was on his way to work when he saw James outside the burning home clutching her baby.”Thank God John was driving, he pulled over, got out and said ‘Oh my God are you and the baby, okay?'” said James.Holding little Opal again and talking to her parents, Stickovich already feels connected to a family he didn’t even know before this week. “I went back in, found the baby gate laying on the floor felt, around couldn’t find the baby I was just getting ready to leave because it was getting so bad…and then the baby cried,” said Stickovich.”A couple of minutes later, he came out holding my baby, that I thought I was never going to see again. Those moments I was thinking to myself, how am I going to have just one twin?” said James.Not once but twice, Stickovich ran into the burning home.”That represents the core of what Cleveland is about. Sacrificing for each other, unselfish sacrifice, it is just totally amazing,” said Chief Anthony Luke, Cleveland Division of Fire.The fire was so intense that the Cleveland Division of Fire experienced a “mayday” call on the scene. “He was completely buried; you couldn’t see him, but I’d say within two minutes, we had him pulled out,” said Captain Chris Keener, Cleveland Division of Fire.Three firefighters were injured, one of them stuck under the collapsed roof. After being released from the hospital, Firefighter Pete Mauric, a 5-year veteran of the department, is even more grateful to hear the babies are OK.”These two are twins, I also have twin 15-month-olds, at home too so, I didn’t know it at the time when we were on the scene but in the hospital I did hear about it, that they were twins that got out, so it hit a little closer for me,” said Mauric.Opal had some burns on her head and her cheek and smoke inhalation but is expected to be OK. Her twin Lotus and her mother also inhaled smoke.The family is extremely grateful Stickovich dropped everything to save their daughter’s life before firefighters arrived, “I’m so grateful for John, he’s our guardian angel for sure, and for the firefighters,” said James.”The baby is safe, and gets to have hopefully a full, happy life,” said Stickovich.The family had no insurance and lost everything.

On Monday, May 6, a house went up in flames in Cleveland, Ohio. Inside at the time, a mother and her twin 11-month-old girls. The smoke was so thick that Samantha James said she could barely see or breathe to get out.

James managed to escape with one of her twins, Lotus. On Thursday, the whole family is safe and recovering, thanks to a total stranger who jumped out of his car and ran into their burning home to rescue the baby inside.

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Thursday morning, the family was reunited with their hero, John Stickovich. Stickovich said he was on his way to work when he saw James outside the burning home clutching her baby.

“Thank God John was driving, he pulled over, got out and said ‘Oh my God are you and the baby, okay?'” said James.

Holding little Opal again and talking to her parents, Stickovich already feels connected to a family he didn’t even know before this week.

“I went back in, found the baby gate laying on the floor felt, around couldn’t find the baby I was just getting ready to leave because it was getting so bad…and then the baby cried,” said Stickovich.

“A couple of minutes later, he came out holding my baby, that I thought I was never going to see again. Those moments I was thinking to myself, how am I going to have just one twin?” said James.

Not once but twice, Stickovich ran into the burning home.

“That represents the core of what Cleveland is about. Sacrificing for each other, unselfish sacrifice, it is just totally amazing,” said Chief Anthony Luke, Cleveland Division of Fire.

The fire was so intense that the Cleveland Division of Fire experienced a “mayday” call on the scene.

“He was completely buried; you couldn’t see him, but I’d say within two minutes, we had him pulled out,” said Captain Chris Keener, Cleveland Division of Fire.

Three firefighters were injured, one of them stuck under the collapsed roof. After being released from the hospital, Firefighter Pete Mauric, a 5-year veteran of the department, is even more grateful to hear the babies are OK.

“These two are twins, I also have twin 15-month-olds, at home too so, I didn’t know it at the time when we were on the scene but in the hospital I did hear about it, that they were twins that got out, so it hit a little closer for me,” said Mauric.

Opal had some burns on her head and her cheek and smoke inhalation but is expected to be OK. Her twin Lotus and her mother also inhaled smoke.

The family is extremely grateful Stickovich dropped everything to save their daughter’s life before firefighters arrived, “I’m so grateful for John, he’s our guardian angel for sure, and for the firefighters,” said James.

“The baby is safe, and gets to have hopefully a full, happy life,” said Stickovich.

The family had no insurance and lost everything.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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