‘She saved my boys’: Grandmother dies after pushing grandchildren to safety during house fire

"The last thing she did was put water on a towel, and put that over their mouths so they wouldn't inhale the smoke. But, it was too much, they already were so weak."

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WLNE) — Maria Cadenas is being remembered as a hero after a fire tore through her home while her and her grandchildren were asleep earlier this week.

Family said the grandmother, 71, broke a window and pushed her 12 and 15-year-old grandsons out. She died of her injuries a day later.

Cindy Cadenas is Maria’s daughter. She lived in the home with her brother, Brian, their mother, Maria, and Cindy’s two sons.

Cindy said she received a call while at work Wednesday, saying her home was on fire.

“I screamed for my kids, and my mom because I knew my mom and the kids were sleeping,” she told ABC 6 News. 

Neighbors capture video of the flames and a terrifying window rescue with firefighters pulling the two children to safety.

But, what they didn’t know was the person who broke the window, lifted the boys to the firefighters was their grandmother, Maria.

“She saved them, she pushed them out, she broke the window, pushed them out,” Cindy explained. “They had no strength, but God gave her strength.”

Her 12-year-old was rushed to the hospital but released two days later. His grandmother suffered severe burns.

Police on Friday confirmed that Maria died of her injuries. Her daughter now calls her a hero.

“The last thing she did was put water on a towel, and put that over their mouths so they wouldn’t inhale the smoke. But, it was too much, they already were so weak.”

Maria’s children remember her as a loving mother and best friend. She was passionate about cooking, dancing, and music. Her daughter is also thankful for the firefighters who were caught on video climbing the roof and bringing her children to safety.

“I have no words, as a mother — I have no words. Only thank you, you saved my pride, my joy, my baby, my smallest, my love,” she said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The Red Cross is helping four adults and four children who lost everything.

Friends of the Cadenas family started a fundraiser in hopes of helping them recover. To donate, click here.

Categories: News, Pawtucket, Regional News, Rhode Island