Heroic Teen Died Saving Others In Brighton Blaze, Now Family Can’t Pay For Funeral


Caballero (Source: BNA)

An 18-year-old Brighton Beach man died on Friday after rescuing his little brother from their burning home, then rushing back into the blaze to save an elderly neighbor. Now the family is struggling to pay for the teen’s funeral, and is turning to the community for help.

Jhordan Caballero lived up to his surname – Spanish for “knight” or “gentleman” – when he guided his 8-year-old brother Renzo out of their Brighton 3rd Street two-story home after a blaze erupted on the first floor, filling the home with thick smoke and scorching heat. Caballero then rushed back in to save a 61-year-old woman.

But Caballero, finding the woman stuck, rushed back upstairs to his apartment to call 911. He never made it back out of the house, succumbing instead to the smoke.

According to the Daily News:

He was unconscious when firefighters found him.

“The building was like an inferno,” said Olga Martynchuk, 39, a neighbor.

She said Caballero was covered in soot when he was pulled from the house.

“I couldn’t tell that it was him at first,” Martychuk said. “He was all black with smoke, you couldn’t see his eyes.”

She said firefighters fought hard to save him. But he died at Coney Island Hospital soon after.

“First one fireman and then another, and then a third and even a fourth they all took turns pumping his chest, but they could do nothing,” Martychuk said.

The younger brother and the neighbor, who was pulled out by firefighters, were treated for smoke inhalation at the same hospital, officials said.

Caballero was a Lincoln High School grad and Kingsborough Community College freshman whose family emigrated to Brooklyn from Peru four years ago.

Now his family, already grief-stricken from their loss, is hit with another burden: trying to pay for Caballero’s funeral bills.

“The boy was a hero,” said Pat Singer, executive director of the Brighton Neighborhood Association. “He gave up his life to save two lives. The family does not have the money to bury their son.”

The BNA has contacted Catholic Charities  and the Hebrew Free Fund, but to no avail. Now they’re asking the community to help give the teen the burial he has earned.

“If anyone wants to donate through the Brighton Neighborhood Association, we will be glad to give them our tax exemption number,” Singer said.

Readers can send checks to the Brighton Neighborhood Association, 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11235. You can call (718) 891-0800 or e-mail bnapsinger@aol.com if you have additional questions.


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  • I’m kinda shocked that there’s no charity that helps pay for funerals of people who die committing heroic acts…

    • Maybe there is, and we don’t know about  the group’s`existence.

      I suppose such a group might re

  • Can someone setup paypal account for these folks?
    I’m sure we can collect few hundreds to send over.

    • I don’t think so, but I forwarded your suggestion to Pat Singer of BNA. If she is interested, I have offered to help her and I’ll let you know if it becomes accessible. Thanks.

      • ES

        I hope she is interested — I’d like to help out somehow. Also, I strongly concur with what Arthur says. There should be something.

      • If there’s a group effort here to help, please count me in.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the family can consider other options, like not having him laid out in a funeral home, cremation is an option that doesn’t cost anything near what a coffin and wake would cost, cremation, then a memorial service in the church is another option.  The father of one of my friends died a few years ago, and it cost her over $10,000 for one day in a funeral home.

    • Usually the reason against cremation is a religious one. But yeah, the costs of funerals have become prohibitive.

      • Anonymous

        Weddings, too.

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  • batchelder streeter

    How about a Funeral Home donating there services, I am sure a casket on their end is not as expensive as a client would have to pay. This would not only be a great gesture, but would give the funeral home big publicity / almost free advertising, since the news already reported this incident. It would make a great news story. I.e. Whigam Funeral Home in Newark N.J.( whitney Houston). If anyone knows a funeral director or owner maybe you can reach out to them.

    •  They don’t as a rule. They are owned by chains and the chains want a profit. One can’t even negotiate the prices anymore.

    • BrooklynBus

      I believe that has been done due to the efforts of Pat Singer.  You would have to ask her to get the details.

      • It’s sort of done. We have the story scheduled for 1:45. There are still needs, and we will have a paypal donate button to make it easier to help this family.

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  • Such a heroic act! Condolences to family and friends mourning the loss of the teenager involved in this fire. 

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  • yc

    One question — how do we know the detail about his rushing upstairs to make a 911 call? 

    • BrooklynBus

      The only way is if he told the lady he was trying to save, that he was going back to his apartment to call 911 where they found him unconcious.  Firemen later aved that lady.

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  • Coogiegryl

    So sad my condolences goes out to the family…

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