Out of the flames, chaos and tragic loss of life from Gainsborough Road fire in Toronto, one the victims who died —Matthew Zdybal— is being remembered as a hero.
“Matt he got out first and we were both at the door and I saw that look in Matt’s face when he heard yelling, crying out for help and Matt ran in there and he didn’t come,” said Jade Jacobis, who had been living at the home since September.
He said he and Zdybal has been friends for about two years, that he had been helping with the house on Gainsborough Road and stayed over that night.
Jacobis believes Zydbal was compelled to try and save the 7-year-old boy still inside — Kai Jansons, but he didn’t make it either.
“That’s what was egging on both of our minds. Who was going to run in and do it,” said Jacobis. “It’s like you can’t go up there. That’s smoke.”
Jacobis says Zdybal was funny, charismatic and a good person.
“It takes a hell of a person to run back into a fire to save somebody. It really does. It takes major strength ... I was so scared and he wasn’t.”
Even more gut-wrenching for Jacobis is the fact that others too died in the fire.
He knew Amanda Freimanis. She was living in the home and also died in the fire.
On Tuesday, Jacobis bought crystals and a plant for Arija Jansons. She has been in his life for the past four years. She is still in hospital and lost her mother Jana Jansons and son Kai in the fire.
Jacobis says that while the fire progressed he screamed for people inside to follow his voice. He ran down the street and banged on neighbours doors barefoot for someone to call 911. He hasn’t realized how his actions may have saved others.
“I felt like I couldn’t do anything to help them and that hurts me because I just feel so bad,” Jacobis said.
Jacobis wants to do more for the victims, survivors and their families, and hopes the money from the ‘Fundraiser for the tragic Gainsborough fire’ will provide all financial and emotional help everyone affected needs.