A Manzano High School grad is being called a hero. Now a Colorado firefighter, he was off-duty when he ran into a burning building with no gear to save a child.
Kyle Chavez saw the flames coming out of his neighbor’s home as he was getting ready for work Monday morning.
“The house was burning. It was burning pretty good,” said Chavez.
He ran through his yard and jumped a fence in his immediate impulse to help. He banged on the door and an adult came out, but that wasn’t the only person inside.
“Heard a kid screaming inside. The woman pointed me to the back bedroom so I got low,” said Chavez. “It was just heavy smoke and just was listening very carefully to the voices, try and get to the voice, find the voice and get him outta there.”
Chavez found that child, a boy about 4 to 5 years old, and carried him out with his mom and three dogs close behind.
While Chavez is a trained firefighter, he didn’t have any gear that day and put his life in serious danger.
Those who know Chavez couldn’t be prouder, including his former baseball coach, Matt Hibbitts.
“I think as a young kid you’re always a fun person to be around, but you could see he had a lot of good work ethic and obviously it’s showing in what he’s been doing after high school,” said Hibbitts, the former head baseball coach at Manzano High School.
Chavez’s former wrestling coach, Dan Sparago, shares a similar pride.
“I, along with the entire school, are incredibly proud of Kyle. We heard what happened. We weren’t surprised,” said Sparago, a retired wrestling coach at Manzano High. “He’s always been a kid who’s willing to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.”
Sparago says Chavez’s good traits come, in part, from his family.
“Kyle was one of those kids who showed some very positive traits,” said Sparago. “We just had to work a little bit to get them all out, but he comes from good stock. His mother and father are great people, they know right from wrong and they’ve taught him well.”
As for Chavez’s family, they’re obviously proud and thankful he’s safe.
“We are very proud of him and the man he has become,” his brother, Dillon, said in a statement.
“What he did took a lot of courage, and he may not consider himself a hero but he is a hero to us, and I’m sure many others were glad he was able to help those folks out and we are thankful he is safe.”
Hibbitts says Chavez’s time playing on teams in high school has carried over to his adult life.
“I think that kind of shows you that being a part of a team as a younger kid can help you later on in life,” said Hibbitts.
Chavez is now a firefighter with the Platte Canyon Fire Protection District. He says his job training definitely came into play.