Good Samaritan recognized by New Britain leaders for saving neighbors from a fire

NEW BRITAIN --  The City of New Britain recognized a good Samaritan who saved several victims from a fire earlier this month.

Juan “Gaby” Busanet was seen in incredible video captured by his friends, helping people escape a massive fire during a snow storm in New Britain on Feb. 9. The video also shows people helping one another escape through windows by using ladders.

Busanet said he helped at least three kids get out of the burning building, as well as two adults.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart gave Busanet a certificate for his heroic deeds, saying he exemplifies a level of courage she strives to see in every citizen of the city.

“It’s not very often that we find situations like this but very important that when tragedy happens we recognize our neighbors that are there to support one another and in this case, save people’s lives,” said Stewart. “ Your instincts Gaby are absolutely incredible, your actions that day were honorable, we owe a debt of gratitude to you for risking your own life to save those little lives that you saved out of that building and the lives of your neighbors, neighbors you didn’t even know,”

New Britain Fire Chief Thomas Ronalter presented Busanet with a Citizen Service Award. He was also given coins and pins from the police department.

Busanet praised the fire department for fighting the seven hour blaze and working together to get everyone out alive.

“The firefighters too, they did a great job because I left that day with two people on the third floor and that was my main concern after I saved five to six people, I was still worried about them,” Busanet said. “They saved them so they did a good job too.”

The fire marshal is still investigating the cause of the fire.

New Britain Fire Chief Thomas Ronalter said the snow made it difficult to respond faster because some streets were blocked by cars that caused a delay in setting up.

Six people were injured in the fire.

Three of the people injured suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to Stewart. One was treated in critical care due to the amount of smoke inhaled. Two firefighters were also treated and released for exhaustion.

Victim, Milca Pinero, said she and her son jumped out of their three-story apartment before any rescue efforts took place.

“It is the most horrifying experience that anybody could go through,” Pinero said. “You see the flames and the smoke and you’re trapped, nobody to rescue you at that moment, you see your life, your whole life flashes in front of you in a second.”

Pinero is staying at a hotel with the assistance of the Red Cross. She lost all her belongings in the fire.

“You never know who’s gonna be there for you and right now with this experience that we all had, the community was there for all of us and we’re very, very, very thankful for everybody that was there,” she said.

More than 20 people lived in the apartment building at 116 West Street.

If you want to help Pinero’s family a Go Fund Me Page has been created.

You can also donate to The Red Cross.

The Red Cross will be in New Britain on March 8 installing free smoke alarms as part of the Install-A-Thon.

Volunteers are needed to help install alarms and to educate and provide safety information for this event.

To volunteer for the Install-A-Thon in New Britain click here or email CHCTRIVolintake@redcross.org.