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'You've made us very, very proud': Newmarket men commended for saving family from fire (VIDEO)

Joshua Mazzotta and Rob Franceschinis call their heroic actions 'just neighbours helping neighbours'

Two Newmarket heroes who saved a family of four from their burning house last week were yesterday honoured in a virtual commendation ceremony.

On April 26, 2021, around 5 a.m., Joshua Mazzotta was stopped at an intersection on his way to work when he noticed smoke and an orange glow coming from the garage of a house on Newmarket’s Warby Trail. Mazzotta immediately ran to the building, called 911, and banged on the door and shouted to wake the family inside.

With smoke and intense heat already overwhelming the ground floor, the residents were unable to escape through the house. Hearing Mazzotta’s yells, neighbour Rob Franceschinis ran over with a ladder he had grabbed from his garage. Together, the men set up the ladder to the balcony where the residents had climbed to escape the smoke.

Franceschinis assisted the family down the ladder and away to safety. Mazzotta and Franceschinis’ quick-thinking actions allowed each of the four residents to escape without injuries.

In a Facebook Live event hosted by the Town of Newmarket May 5, Newmarket Mayor John Taylor and Central York Fire Services Fire Chief Ian Laing played a recording of the rescue taken by a doorbell camera across the street and commended Mazzotta and Franceschinis for their “highly commendable” actions. Both men were awarded a certificate from the mayor’s office and letter of acknowledgment for their heroics.

“These two individuals acted without hesitation to help someone in need,” said Laing. “Their actions speak louder than words. While most people never get presented with this type of challenge in their whole lives, these two young men performed admirably.”

“Josh and Rob, you’re special people. The Town of Newmarket owes you a great debt of gratitude,” said Taylor. “We recognize your contribution formally and we’re very proud of you. You’ve made us very, very proud of our town.”

Both Mazzotta and Franceschinis were in attendance at the event, but declined to speak. Laing informed viewers that this was because they didn’t view themselves as heroes, just “neighbours helping neighbours.”

Laing also thanked Central York Fire Services, York Regional Police, York Region Paramedic Services, and the Office of the Fire Marshal for their assistance in the incident.

He urged Newmarket residents to plan and prepare for danger, including changing smoke alarm batteries regularly and developing a home escape plan in case of a fire, as part of Public Safety Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Week, May 2 to 8.

“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid,” said Laing. “Courage means you don’t let fear stop you. And that’s what these two young men did.”