Brave Filipino Caregiver Dies After House Fire in United States

Allen Belaguas, a 21-year-old Filipino caregiver in the US, died a hero on February 15, 2014 at a facility in Rainbow Hospice in Chicago. The medical examiner’s office in Cook County shared the news after Belaguas fell into a coma and remained in very critical condition for almost two months. On December 26, 2013, he went through surgery at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

The young caregiver was regarded as a local hero after attempting to rescue Thomas and Janet Lambert, an elderly couple he was caring for, from a fire that ravaged their home located on 1200 Block Field Court, Naperville, Chicago. The blaze started at around 6:50 a.m. The couple died in the fire while Belaguas suffered injuries and complications from smoke inhalation.

Janet was 56 years old and blind while Thomas Lambert was 57 years old and diagnosed with brain cancer.

The fire happened on December 18, 2013, where Belaguas ran back to rescue the two ailing individuals. At first, he helped John Lambert, and Patricia Carhoff, Thomas’ father and sister, vacate the burning two-storey building.

According to Zeta Pierson, mother of Belaguas, Allen did his job. He was already out of the building but returned to try and save the old couple. He was first brought to Edward Hospital in Naperville together with John Lambert and Carhoff before being transferred to Loyola Center for surgery. Diagnoses showed that he suffered from severe smoke inhalation. The other two victims were later on released after being treated for minor injuries.

Belaguas moved to United States to become a registered nurse. He had been staying with Zeta Pierson in Orland Park for one and a half years and worked at BrightStar Care in Naperville after earning his certification as a certified nursing assistant (CAN). Belaguas came from Cagayan de Oro City in southern Philippines and initially worked at a nursing home after coming to America. Pierson shared that he was saving money for tuition to obtain a degree in nursing.

Witnesses shared the bravery and heroic acts of Belaguas in news reports and on the internet. Based on reports, the Filipino caregiver did not consider his own safety to save other people’s lives during the emergency. Belaguas’ mother said that Allen had been only been working for eight days at the Lambert home when the fire occurred. His family described him as caring, fun-loving and adventurous. Allen appreciated photography and music, according to his peers.