Chula Vista Teen Who Rescued Brother, Dog From Fire Honored by City

After rescuing his brother, Diego went back inside for their six-month-old puppy

“I did what I had to. I woke up my brother. We got out. I helped get the neighbors out,” were the words of a brave 14-year-old boy who saved his brother and his dog from a fire in their home last May. Tuesday he was honored by the city of Chula Vista for his heroism.

Diego Covarrubias was at home with his 10-year-old brother and six-month-old Yorkie, Sammy, when an early morning electrical problem sparked a fire at the house. His father had just stepped outside to help a friend change a flat tire.

After he got everyone outside, Diego realized Sammy was still inside the house, so he ran back into the flames and found the puppy underneath a table. “He stays in the kitchen, so when I ran in it was dark, but I knew where he'd be because he was scared underneath the table,” he said.

“He's our dog and we love him, so I couldn't just leave him behind. I couldn't live with myself leaving him behind,” Diego told NBC 7.

It was about 2 a.m. when Luis Covarrubias drove about 20 minutes away to help a friend with a blowout. When he returned he was shocked. “All you see is this black smoke coming out of the window of your house so, you just lose your stomach,” he said. “You don't know if your family just came back or if you're going to see them again.”

Luis has been a single father eight years. “We’ve raised each other.”

“I'm very proud,” he said. “I'm proud of all my boys. I know that we did the right thing.”

Luis said their Catholic faith has helped them get through the trauma of the fire. “We’re sure we’re going to be OK.”

For now, the family is living with relatives.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up for the family. 

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