A retired Connecticut police detective attended the college graduation of a child he rescued from a fire nearly 18 years ago this week.
It was the summer of 1998 when then five-year-old Josi Aponte’s apartment went up in flames in Hartford.
“I couldn’t breathe and then I just passed out,” Aponte told NBC.
Peter Getz pulled Aponte out of the fire and rushed her to the emergency room. Getz performed CPR while his partner drove their patrol car.
“I’m told that if he would have just waited a few more seconds for the ambulance to come in I could have died. But I’m here and it’s all thanks to Peter,” Aponte said.
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Aponte was badly burned and was in the hospital for a month. Getz visited her during her recovery and helped find support for her family.
Although Aponte doesn’t remember much from the fire, a photo of Getz rescuing her serves as a reminder.
Aponte says she was determined to find Getz 18 years later to invite him to her graduation at Connecticut State University.
So she “Facebook stalked him” and sent him a message. “He’s like ‘what kind of flowers do you like’ and I’m like ‘just pink, just pink flowers.’”
In a crowd of graduates, Aponte found Getz holding pink flowers Tuesday evening. “I was shocked and so happy.”
The pair said they are going to keep in touch regularly and Aponte said she hopes to get her Master’s degree soon.