ESCANABA, Mich. (WJMN) — After a long night of working at the Verso paper mill, Angel Lozada and his wife, Ashley, decided to get up early April 30 to enjoy the day together.
The couple took their dog to the beach for a morning walk and then stopped at a hardware store for supplies to work on their deck at home. Just a normal day for the Lozada family. Until they pulled up to the intersection of Ludington & Lincoln in Escanaba.
They could see smoke and thought it might be from a grill. Then a puff of thick black smoke rolled across Ludington Street. Angel drove down, pulled into the vacant lot next to the Delta Inn Motel and saw the flames.
“Well that just gave me goosebumps, so I was like ‘I gotta go help that guy’ you know?” said Angel Lozada, Bark River resident.
“I threw my cell-phone and jumped out and ran to see one of the guys where fire had started, he was still in there and he had passed away.”
The fire began to spread. Lozada went around to check on the other motel residents to see if he could help.
“I went into one resident’s room, just below the stairwell, next to the room that was on fire, and hurried and got him out.”
Angel saw a man in a wheelchair and made sure he got to safety before hearing voices from above.
“There was a couple of guys upstairs, three guys, that were trapped because the stairwell was on fire, so I told them to run to the other roof and see if we could get them off on the other side.”
At that time, Escanaba Public Safety arrived with a firetruck, but they did not have a ladder available. Thinking on his feet, Angel searched for a ladder, but could not find one.
Lozada ran around back to help the three men upstairs. One man was forced to jump down due to the heat from the fire. Another man hung on the edge of the building and fell into Angel’s hands while flames roared above. When another group of first responders arrived, Angel helped the team bring the last individual down to safety.
“As soon as I saw that corner, I just knew I had to help. There was no questions about it.”
Angel stuck around to help the Escanaba Public Safety Department anyway he could, even stretching the firetruck hose so fighters could reach all aspects of the motel.
Captain Darin Hunter and the Escanaba Public Safety Department singled Lozada out in their press release, thanking him for the work he did that day.
“These people weren’t very well income people, so they don’t really have much. It would be nice for the community to help and reach out to them and just send prayers down to the guy in Milwaukee who was severely burned.”