Son who rescued mom from fire credits good Samaritans


NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A New Bedford man who pulled his mother from her burning home says if it wasn’t for good Samaritans, she may not have made it.

Carl Colangelo and his wife Carolyn live next door to Carl’s 83-year-old mother Gertrude on Maryland Street.

Carl said he was awoken shortly after midnight Wednesday to his dog barking and realized his mother’s house was on fire.

“I just grabbed the keys and ran out there barefoot and came into her house and found her,” Colangelo recalled. He ended up finding her in the bathroom. “The fire was pretty much right above her,” he said.

Carolyn said the smoke was so thick she couldn’t get past the kitchen. But that didn’t stop her husband.

“He responded right away,” Carolyn said. “He didn’t think twice. He just ran right in there,” she said. “I was screaming bloody murder. He came back out for a breath of fresh air and then went back. Me and neighbors said, ‘Oh God, that’s it. He’s never coming back out.'”

But Carl did make it out, with his mother in tow. She is now recovering at the hospital.

Gertrude’s cat, Willow – who the family initially thought was lost in the fire – showed up the next morning.

The Colangelos credit two good Samaritans with first discovering the fire.

“They said they were on their way back from Dunkin’ Donuts, they smelled smoke and then drove around trying to find it,” Carl said.

Those people began knocking on doors in the neighborhood, which Carl said is what caused his dog to bark. They also called 911.

While the Colangelos said they don’t know who those people are, they did have a message for them.

“Thank you very much. You saved my mom,” said Carl. “You took the time and saved a life,” Carolyn added.

Carl also said he wanted to thank the firefighters and EMTs who responded.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation but officials said it’s not considered suspicious.

Carl said despite the extensive damage, he hopes his family will be able to repair the home – which Gertrude and her husband had built 50 years ago.

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