School employee saves 2 from fire


George Garnica/For The Madera Tribune

Head janitor Tony Martinez being honored by principal Danene Guglielmana, center, with microphone and assistance from a translator, left.

On Thursday, near Eastin-Arcola Elementary School, a house fire occurred that left two adults with burn injuries.

The couple inside the home were not aware their house was on fire and were pulled out by a Madera Unified School District classified school employee who saw the fire from across the street while putting up the school flags around 6 a.m.

“Our employee reacted by running to the house, jumping a fence, and entering the dwelling, that was full of smoke and flames,” said George Garnica of the school district staff.

The school employee, who happened to be head janitor Tony Martinez, pulled the man and the woman out of the house while another district employee, cafeteria server Teresa Deleija, coordinated a 911 call to get the authorities on the scene as quickly as possible.

According to Training Captain Chris Reneau of Madera County Fire, if the couple had not been helped out of the home they most likely would have perished.

Upon arriving at school around 7 a.m., the school administrator made immediate contact with emergency personnel on site, as well as district personnel, to provide possible support, counseling, and necessary transportation adjustments for students who would soon be arriving on campus.

This event did not affect the regular school day, and morning arrival routines continued as usual.

“This event is a reminder that heroes do not always come in capes, and great people in our district take action when they see people in need. This demonstrates the kind of classified employees we have in our district,” said Madera Unified Superintendent Todd Lile, who was on scene after the incident along with the Deputy Superintendent, and Area Assistant Superintendent to provide support.

“We, as a district, are proud of our district employees and are glad they were there to help the local community.”

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