The 4th of July holiday almost turned into tragedy for a woman in Cleveland. Her house on Barber Avenue caught fire while she was fast asleep Tuesday morning. A neighbor is crediting divine intervention for putting him in the right place at the right time.
“My whole house is gone,” Marianne Rodriguez said. “I've lost everything.”
News 5 spoke with her as she looked on at the damage. Her windows busted out, water still dripping from the roof and fire trucks lining the street.
“I set my alarm for 9:30 and I don't know what time it was, somebody started kicking the front door, screaming, ‘Fire, fire!’”
It was her neighbor's brother, who only wanted to go by “Mr. Smith.” Neither of them wanted to go on camera.
“I just feel like the Lord put me in the right place at the right time, so I did what the Lord told me to do,” Mr. Smith shared. “He said it's a life... somebody's in there... make sure and to check, and also to make sure there weren't any children in there.”
So he banged on the door and yelled, and just as he was about to kick the door in, a terrified Rodriguez opened it.
“I realized the house was on fire,” she explained. “I ran to the front door, he grabbed me and took me off the porch.”
“Lives are more important than property,” noted Mr. Smith. “As long as lives are there, property can always be regained.”
While her property is lost, Rodriguez is grateful her life was saved.
“He saved my life. I'm here because of him. Thank God for neighbors. Thank God for loving neighbors, because I have one and he's my hero today.”
Marianne said her husband was at work at the time of the fire.
According to fire officials, it started in the kitchen area, and they believe it was an electrical issue.