When people think of superheroes, they might think of a comic book character, or a police officer or firefighter. But as Ernie Pena showed, sometimes a superhero can be the guy who lives next door.
Looking out of his window, Pena saw a massive blaze consuming a neighbor’s house, a blaze that had burned so hot, it had popped the tires on a car sitting out front, causing the explosions that woke him.
Without a second thought — and knowing that there were kids as young as 3-months-old inside — Pena sprang into action. It was a response, he explained, that came from instinct:
“I didn’t think about anything. My first actions was to go back there and help get his family…
I didn’t have time to be scared.”
With flames racing across the front of the home, Pena broke down part of the backyard fence and jumped in, ignoring smoke that was so thick you couldn’t even see “your hand in front of your face.”
Pena then began to pick up the children and pass them to safety on the other side of the fence, where other neighbors had also come to lend their aid.
Even though he lost his home, Dominic Robles, the father of the family that lived in the house, couldn’t be more grateful:
“I love my neighbors. People have been through worse. God is good.”
It would be later on Tuesday afternoon that Lakewood Police would arrest 27-year-old Christopher Magana — who is believed to have intentionally set the fire — and booked him on suspicion of arson, attempted first-degree murder, criminal mischief, and domestic violence.