Rahshon Dixon rescued his neighbors from their Rosa Parks Boulevard home in Paterson after the home burst into flames back in April.
“There was no time to be scared,” Dixon said. “It was God’s will for me to be where I was at that day.”
The home now sits boarded up heavily damaged from the fire.
But the Lapaix family is grateful to be alive.
“You appreciate it because you never expect it to happen to you,” Jude Lapaix said.
Dixon said he didn’t think twice before entering the home.
“The fire was coming out of the windows,” Dixon said. “That’s why I dashed in the house.”
Dixon, a 13-year-veteran of the department of public works, was honored by the mayor of Paterson by presenting him with keys to the city.
“There’s a young man in Paterson who is a superhero in his own right,” Mayor Andre Sayegh said.
Dixon says it was fate that put him there that day. He was on his way home when he saw the fire on the second floor of the home.
He led the charge with two other men to get everyone to safety.
Dixon found Jude Lapaix and his son asleep in the attic.
“We’re kicking the door in and I guess once he realized it was a fire we went back to the second floor,” Dixon said.
That’s where he helped rescued Lapaix’s mother and 7-year-old daughter.
“Without them, I wouldn’t know because I was sleeping,” Lapaix said.
Dixon said he struggled to get Lapaix’s 84-year-old father out of the home.
“Me and my little brother Terrance we grabbed him and said ‘pop we gotta go’,” Dixon said. “He kept saying my house, my house.”
Lapaix said his father worked 3 jobs to afford their family home.
“Imagine if you worked so hard for an item and all of a sudden caught up in flames like that,” Lapaix said.
While the Lapaixs count their blessings, the Paterson fire department also recognized Dixon’s courage.
“This is the era where people pull out their cellphones and starts videotaping,” Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott said. “He didn’t do that. He put it down and acted. He did everything that we would do. He did it without training, did it without gear, and did it with heart.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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