FAIRFIELD — Latrell McCockran was lifting weights when the 14-year-old said he smelled smoke and then saw flames coming from a downstairs apartment unit where a 62-year-old disabled man was struggling to get out.
McCockran entered the unit and helped the man escape from the blaze – and then went back in when the man said his dog was inside, the Fairfield Fire Department said of the 7:30 p.m. Saturday fire.
The teen got the Labrador and called out to anyone else inside before the heat and smoke became unbearable and McCockran had to leave the empty unit, the Fire Department said.
His mother, Latisha McCockran, said she tells her sons Latrell and Latravion, 12 – who went door-to-door alerting residents about the fire – not to be bystanders.
“I teach them that if you see something going on, try to get involved,” she said.
Battalion Chief Matt Luckenbach called the actions of the two boys heroic and said 62-year-old Rick Smith is alive at the 41-unit, two-story Grande Vista apartment on Grande Circle, because of Latrell.
Smith, who received singe marks to his hair, said Monday that he doesn’t walk too well, had just awakened Saturday and was in a daze when Latrell arrived.
The teen didn’t think any alternative was possible Saturday night.
“That’s not right,” Latrell said, “just to leave people in a burning house.”
He and his brother will be honored at the June 24 meeting of the Fairfield City Council, said Councilwoman Catherine Moy.
She said crimes that occur around Grande Circle can leave a mistaken impression about the neighborhood.
“There are good people,” Moy said. “Like the McCockran family.”
Latisha McCockran said the positive parts of the area are often overlooked.
“They never hear about the good around here,” the mother said. “They hear about the bad.”
The family, who live four doors down from the fire, stayed at United Methodist Church after the fire Saturday and will return home Wednesday. Latrell and his 9-month-old sister L’Amouriana both have asthma that smoke in the area doesn’t help.
Latisha McCockran took her 14-year-old son to the hospital Saturday night to treat smoke inhalation he sustained during his rescue efforts.
Latrell, who wants to attend UCLA, is among the very good people who live along Grande Circle, said Councilman John Mraz.
“I’m proud of this kid,” Mraz said.
The Fire Department acknowledged Latrell’s heroic actions – and also reminded residents that entering a burning building without advanced training and proper equipment can be life-threatening. Moy went a step further and called the brothers heroes.
Ingrid Swanson, manager of the Grande Vista apartment, said Latrell and Latravion McCockran often do something that doesn’t bring the TV news crews that arrived at the site Monday. They help carry residents’ groceries, Swanson said.
“They’re both good kids,” she said of the brothers.
The fire essentially destroyed three apartments and caused smoke damage to two others, Battalion Chief John Sturdee said Sunday. He estimated the damage at approximately $400,000. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.