SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) – Albert Madrid is being remembered as a hero by his community after losing his life while saving two young girls from a burning mobile home.
Friends, family, city officials, and firefighters gathered in San Bernardino for a community memorial service Saturday to pay tribute to the brave civilian.
Madrid, 25, and his girlfriend were eating at a restaurant when they spotted a fire across the street.
The 25-year-old was racing over while on the phone with 911 when he heard someone yell that two girls were inside the burning mobile home.
Madrid ran into the home and was able to find the girls, ages four and seven. He picked the girls up and handed them to another man through a broken window.
Moriah Madrid, Albert’s older sister, told those at the funeral, “I never thought in a million years that I would be here, saying goodbye to my little brother.”
She remembers the night of the fire saying, “I got called early in the morning around one. My heart knew something was wrong.”
She went on to say, “He saved these girls and I can just say I hope they grow up to be something amazing because he laid down his life for them.”
Firefighters who helped put out the fire that took Madrid’s life were also in attendance at the service.
“He was loved by everybody,” said Madrid’s mother, Irene Sainteclaire.
His family described him as a fun-loving, yet stubborn and controlling, even telling them to prepare for a situation like this.
Sainteclaire said, “He didn’t want us mourning or crying for him…and he wanted us to remember all the happy times.”
The young girls Madrid saved were not in attendance at the service, and CBSLA was told that the girls don’t remember the night of the fire.