Eighteen year old Jhordan Caballero was home with his eight year old brother Renzo, when they realized that their home was on fire. Intense heat and heavy smoke, however, were not able to prevent Jhordan from leading his younger brother downstairs and across the street to safety.
Went Back to Help Neighbor
Jhordan, a Kingsboro Community College student, then went back to the burning building, a two story frame structure on Brighton Third Street in Brighton Beach, to help the 61-year-old woman who lived in the first floor apartment where the fire originated. When Caballero realized that the woman was stuck behind the door to her apartment, he ran upstairs to call firefighters.
“By the time he got back downstairs he was overcome with smoke,” said his aunt, Karina Ruggiero.
When the firefighters arrived Caballero was already unconscious.
“The building was like an inferno,” said a neighbor.
The neighbor, Olga Martynchuk said she could not recognize Caballero when she first saw him.
“I couldn’t tell that it was him at first,” she said. “He was all black with smoke, you couldn’t see his eyes.”
Too Late to Save His Life
Martynchuk described how hard the firefighters tried to save Caballero’s life.
“First one fireman and then another, and then a third and even a fourth they all took turns pumping his chest, but they could do nothing,” she said.
Younger Brother Devastated
Caballero’s younger brother, Renzo, idolized his brother. Jhordan looked after his brother, helping him with his homework, while their parents worked.
“We told Renzo that Jhordan’s in heaven and that he would be our angel,” their mother, Jenny Cornejo, 46, explained through tears. “They were always together. We worked so they were alone. Jhordan helped him with his homework. They were very close.”
“He always liked to help other people, not just his family,” she said. “To me he will always be a hero.”