With his young daughter looking on, Paul Antonino from Wakefield, Mass., saved the lives of several people on April 1 when he entered a burning building in East Boston to rescue them, Fox News reports.
The 53-year-old Boston native was leaving a restaurant with his 12-year-old daughter, Natalie, when he saw a three-story duplex engulfed in flames.
Leaving Natalie behind, Antonino rushed in.
"I ran in, kicked the two doors down and got them all," he said, referring to the several elderly residents he ushered to safety.
When asked about the fear Natalie must have felt when her father rushed into a blazing building, Antonino told NECN that he is glad he was able to set a good example.
"I think she trusts her father," he added.
In recognition of his heroism, Wednesday was declared "Paul Antonino Day" in the city of Boston, the Boston Globe reports. At a ceremony in his City Hall office, Mayor Thomas M. Menino gave Antonino a proclamation and thanked him for his selfless bravery.
"I'm not going to make too much of a big deal out of it," Antonino told NECN, adding that there are many unsung heroes in every community -- like the "guy coaching little league" -- who deserve more recognition than he does.
According to the Boston Globe, the seven-alarm fire caused an estimated loss of $2.5 million and left 30 people homeless. No residents were hurt, though three firefighters sustained minor injuries.
Antonino appealed to the public to stop paying attention to him and instead, focus on helping those who have been displaced by the fire.
The East Boston Savings Bank has started a donation drive for the cause.
Donations can be made in person or by mail to: 10 Meridian St., East Boston, MA 02128. Checks should be made payable to “Families of Chelsea Street Fire.”
Watch an interview with Paul Antonino on NECN: