The local man who alerted a Homestead Avenue couple about the fire in their home is doing better after his own health emergency at the scene of last week’s blaze.
Eric Cattoor is the Hollister resident who alerted the Silva family about their house being on fire Tuesday evening, shortly before much of the home went up in flames.
“I’m doing OK,” Cattoor told San Benito Live on Sunday, five days after the fire destroyed a home in the 1100 block of Homestead Avenue.
“I actually got an implant for a pacemaker and defibrillator back in June,” he said. “So my heart stopped beating.”
But he said the defibrillator got it back going and he ran out of the house, afterward receiving attention from an ambulance on scene. He said he had to stay in the hospital for a day.
Cattoor had been with his mother-in-law at the time.
Recalling the incident over the weekend, Cattoor said his medical issue was a scary situation.
“I just figured if my house was on fire, I’d hope someone would knock on the door,” Cattoor said. “I really didn’t think about my heart not working.”
It started while he had been walking his dog with his mother-in-law. They saw the roof on fire and nobody around doing anything about it.
“I didn’t see anybody, so I gave the dog to my mother-in-law, ran up to the door and called 911.”
With a stranger knocking hard on the door, the Silva family wasn’t sure how to respond, he said.
“They didn’t believe me, so I had the woman come out and see the roof on fire,” Cattoor said. “We went back in and got the husband out.”
Days after the fire, Cattoor wasn’t done helping, either.
He walked over to the house Saturday, when the fire department investigator and the Silvas’ daughter Michelli Rodriguez happened to be there. Cattoor showed the investigator a picture of the fire, which offered additional clues as to where the blaze started.
Cattoor also credited the fire crews who responded to the incident.
“The firemen got there pretty fast and saved the houses around it,” he said.
He said an off-duty fireman happened to be shortly after he alerted the Silvas of the blaze.
“He went in and shut off the gas and was trying to pull stuff out,” he said.
The Silva family, meanwhile, is continuing to pick up the pieces after losing their home. Rodriguez took to Facebook on Monday and asked local residents if they could help finding the family a home to rent in the area. They are looking for a home with minimum of three rooms with a garage, she wrote.
See photos below from the scene of the fire the morning after the blaze: