When Josi Aponte was 5 years old, she nearly died in a fire that fully engulfed her family’s apartment on Washington Street in Hartford.
“That was a tough time in my life… we had just come from Venezuela.” Josi’s mother was working at the time the fire broke out. Her cousin, who was the only other person in the apartment at the time, died in the fire.
A picture in the papers from that day in 1998 shows retired Hartford cop Peter Getz holding the badly wounded little girl, covered in ash, while rushing to get her into his patrol car. Getz told CNN they were a block and a half from the hospital, so they didn’t wait for an ambulance to get there. “I jumped in a cruiser, did CPR…the hospital staff did their magic,” he said.
Aponte had to recover several months in a few different hospitals.
Getz retired from the force 13 years ago, according to WTNH, but still followed Aponte through the years to make sure she was doing okay. Getz says his own children were just a few years older than Josi when he pulled her out of the burning apartment — and that moment really stayed with him.
She found him on Facebook a few years ago, wanting to know what happened that day. They’ve been talking over the last few years and he attended her college graduation this week.
“He saved my life… he’s a guardian angel to me,” she said while clutching on to a teddy bear that Getz had given her years ago.
Aponte says she couldn’t be happier seeing Peter in the stands during her graduation ceremony from Eastern CT State University. She says, thanks to her real-life hero, she can go on to fulfill all her life’s dreams — which includes getting her Master’s Degree and becoming a CPA.
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