Hero in Trenton building fire

July 21, 2009 3:57:36 PM PDT
There aren't a lot of people who would run into a burning building but a man in Trenton did just that and saved a few lives in the process, including his wife and unborn child.The people in his community are calling him a hero.

Meanwhile, someone else in the neighborhood is accused of being an arsonist.

Embarrassed by the burns he suffered on his face, 30-year-old Jaime Santiago declined to talk to Action News but neighbors are singing his praises that after the Trenton man saved his 9-months-pregnant wife and 5 others from an arson fire at their South Olden Avenue home.

"I think it was absolutely heroic for him to do that because she may not have made it," said Jovan Tift.

"It takes courage to go into a fire to help a family member or any particular person," said Juan Rodriguez.

It all started Saturday night inside this rental house. That's where police say 71-year-old Ronald King, who lived in the home with the Santiago's and 4 others allegedly set a fire in retaliation because he was upset his housemates complained about his erratic behavior to the landlord.

King was in Trenton Municipal Court for his arraignment Tuesday morning.

King was advised not to talk until he gets a lawyer and is being held without bail pending a psychiatric evaluation.

"He barricaded people in the building and tried to set fire. I mean there was a little girl in there, she's pregnant. I mean that's crazy," said Louis Cammiso.

Some residents escaped the flames by climbing onto a neighbor's roof. Others were hurt when they jumped from second story windows and at least one was seriously burned.

"Throwing the liquid onto a staircase and ignited it, if that was not witnessed by one of the tenants there we probably would have had 6 homicides," said Captain Joe Juniak of the Trenton Police Department.

As for Jaime Santiago he continues nursing the burns on his face as he and his wife await the birth of their child which is now overdue.