Dracut fire hero is hailed at Statehouse

By Neal J. Riley, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON — Nick Theodore was about to get in the shower when he saw smoke through the bathroom window. Adrenaline pumping, the 19-year-old from Dracut ran outside to find his grandfather lying unconscious by his three-story garage that was sprouting flames.

“You just go, you don’t think,” related Theodore, who was commended for his actions yesterday at the Statehouse by Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, and Rep. Colleen Garry, D-Dracut. “I picked him up and said, ‘Pop, we gotta go, we gotta get you out of here.'”

Theodore’s father, Dino, said his son undoubtedly saved the life of 82-year-old Aristomenes Theodore, who has Parkinson’s disease.

“I know my dad wouldn’t have gotten out of there,” Dino Theodore said. “It would’ve engulfed him.”

The three-alarm fire on March 12 erupted after a spark from a garden rototiller ignited a container of gasoline, Dino Theodore said. His son, who works as a repo man but plans to enroll in Middlesex Community College in the fall, was able to move his grandfather’s Oldsmobile and Cadillac from the garage, but a World War II-era propeller plane was destroyed.

Finegold said he was honoring “a true hero.”

“You hear so many stories about young people not doing this or not doing that,” Finegold said in an interview. “This is someone who’s really brave and is a great example of what the future generation is really about.”

Asked if he considers himself a hero, Nick Theodore said he simply acted on instinct.

“I see myself as an everyday person, I just did what I had to do,” he said. “If people say I’m a hero, then I take it as that.”

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