Witnesses call contractor a hero for rescuing man, woman in Alexandria condo fire

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A contractor just happened to be working in front of a building when it caught fire on Friday.

The Alexandria Fire Department says they were called to the Parkfairfax Community on Valley Drive for a fire around 11:00 a.m.

When they arrived, three people were outside of the building suffering from smoke inhalation. They learned that one of them went into the burning building to help get the other two out.

That man is Edwin Barata.

“I thank my Father for everything,” he says. “Now I’m happy, because she’s OK.”

Parkfairfax staff say they saw Barata carry a woman who lived in the condo out and also helped with her son.

“He’s a hero, no question,” says Juan Oliver, an employee with Parkfairfax. “I think he saved them and I think he did a great job.”

Alexandria fire officials say families living in three condos had to be displaced. They are getting assistance from the Red Cross.

They believe the fire was an accident, starting in the kitchen of a condo but it is still under investigation.

Chief Chris Kunkle says firefighters noticed an “excessive amount” of property in the house and attic area where the fire started.

The man and woman inside the condo were taken to MedStar for treatment.

Barata was taken to Inova Alexandria Hospital, but was able to leave Friday evening.