MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A northwest Miami-Dade man has his neighbors to thank after they rushed into his burning home to save him.
Elias and Veronica Beckford have called their quaint, well-kept house at 773 NW 75th Street home for 50 years. An overnight fire, however, changed that.
A fast moving fire gutted the home as thick smoke billowed into the sky.
Elias Beckford uses a prosthetic leg and is not able to get around on his own. He was in his bed when the smoke began to overtake the house. His wife Veronica jumped into action.
“When I woke up I saw smoke coming all over the house and then I run into the other room and told him wake up wake up, fire fire,” she said.
Veronica Beckford then ran to a neighbor’s house for help.
Without thinking of their own safety neighbor Reggie Dorival and his cousin ran into the house to try to find Elias.
“The smoke was heavy, the smell was strong. We couldn’t barely see. We just asked her where exactly her husband was. My cousin and I just ran inside the house and brought him out,” said Dorival.
“When the smoke almost catch me, they picked me up in the chair and brought me out,” said Elias Beckford.
Dorival said he recently took a disaster training course and used what he learned in this fire.
“I’m just glad I could help him out,” said Dorival. “That’s what neighbors do and I would’ve done it again if another neighbor was in need of that.”
Veronica said she was grateful to everyone who helped out.
“I don’t have words to express, I appreciate it so much, I don’t have the words to you all, I am very grateful,” said Beckford.
She believes the fire started in an air conditioning unit in a guest room in the rear of their home. Firefighters say the Beckford’s home is a total loss.
The Red Cross will temporarily provide them with place to stay. Veronica said they do have insurance and will have now have to figure out what’s next for the place they’ve called home for most of their lives.