Rancho Cucamonga teen saves mother, son from burning home

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A 17-year-old Rancho Cucamonga boy meets with the family of a mother and her 5-year-old son who he rescued from their burning home Tuesday night. (Matt Hawker, 17, hugs Jack Emberton, the grandfather of a 5-year-old Hawker rescued from a burning home in Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.)

A 17-year-old Rancho Cucamonga boy met with the family of a mother and her 5-year-old son who he rescued from their burning home Tuesday night.

Jack Emberton, the grandfather of the little boy, said there is no doubt in his mind that Matt Hawker is a hero.

The teenager was driving down the 8900 block of Reales Street around 10 p.m. when he noticed a home was engulfed in flames.

"At first I thought it was a big bonfire," he said. "I rolled down my window, slowed down and I heard her yelling, 'Help me!' so I put my car in park and ran straight to the backyard."

That is when Matt found Emberton's daughter, Joy Chapman, in the backyard on the ground with a broken leg. She had just jumped 19-feet from her balcony to escape the flames, but her son Brayden was still trapped.

Matt quickly found a ladder on the side of the home and was able to get to the balcony and run inside the house to rescue Brayden.

"I grabbed the kid and when I picked him up he was pulling my hair and slapping me because he was scared. But I lifted him over the balcony and lowered him down," Matt said.

Brayden's father Jason, who is a paramedic with the L.A. City Fire Department, was not home at the time of the blaze. He was on duty. Tragically, his FEMA search and rescue dog Boogie died in the fire.

Still, his wife and son are safe.

"We do it for a living. We're trained to do it as firemen, so it's expected of us. It's not expected of a 17-year-old," Jason Chapman said.

Matt said he isn't sure how he managed to do the daring rescue now that he looks back on it.

"I was so shocked after and I was just amazed at what I did myself," he said.

Joy is still in the hospital with her broken leg and Brayden only suffered minor smoke inhalation. Both are expected to be OK.
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teenagerfire rescuerescuefirehouse firecaliforniagood newsRancho CucamongaSan Bernardino County
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