LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday honored a Simi Valley man who helped save the life of an LAPD officer in the wake of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
KNX 1070′s Vytas Safronikas reports after 19 years, still photographer Michael Kubiesy was officially recognized for his act of heroism.
The LAPD awarded Kubeisy with a certificate of appreciation for helping to rescue Officer Joseph Jordan and four other people on Jan. 17, 1994, after the magnitude-6.7 quake all but destroyed the Northridge Meadows Apartments.
“I remember it like yesterday because it was so traumatic,” Kubeisy told CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Amber Lee.
After bridging a three-foot crevice that had opened up inside his Northridge apartment during the quake, Kubiesy assisted an elderly neighbor down a chain ladder and then pried open Jordan’s door, where the officer and his wife were inside.
“So I tried to knock the door down and I couldn’t….my apartment was two doors down,” he said. “I came back with a huge channel lock and pushed the door open.”
He blew out a candle the couple was using – which could have potentially erupted with leaking gas nearby – and then joined with Jordan in helping other neighbors in the three-story building.
In addition to helping save Officer Jordan, Kubeisy scrambled through the wreckage and pulled Patricia Silden from the rubble of her collapsed third-story balcony.
Later that year, the two married and bought a house in Simi Valley, and are the proud parents of two children – Garret and Connor.
Upon reviewing old earthquake coverage, the LAPD discovered a long-lost 1995 interview from TV’s “The 700 Club” in which Jordan thanked Mike Kubeisy for saving him.
“God sent him, he did not know that,” Jordan said. “He was preordained to be a rescuer. What can I say to the man who saved my life, to my buddy here.”
Jordan died after suffering a heart attack in 1996.
The 53-year-old Kubiesy – who now works as a still photographer for the CBS television show “NCIS” – said he accepted the honor only to show his teenage boys the value of self-sacrifice.
“He’s a hero, and it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you save people, it’s the right thing to do,” said son Garret.
The ceremony was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.