On Tuesday in Havervill, Massachusetts, what began as an ordinary grocery shopping trip for 17-year-old Alex Gabriel turned out to be anything but.
As the teen shopped at the local Market Basket, he saw a car in the parking lot burst into flames. The fire spread quickly – moments later, the blaze shot into the car’s front seats.
When Gabriel noticed that there was a dog in the car, his adrenaline kicked in immediately. At a lack of tools to smash through the glass with, he decided to rely on his own strength. He thrust his elbow into the window, but the glass remained intact. He wasn’t about to give up, however, and succeeded on his second try.
Inside the car was a five-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog named Boomer. In an interview with Boston 25 News, Gabriel described rescuing the large dog: “I was trying to keep smoke out of my eyes and just grabbed the dog by the scruff and just kind of lifted it out.”
Boomer was saved with just seconds to spare before the car became fully engulfed in the flames, and Gabriel’s quick thinking and bravery are to thank for saving the dog’s life. Boomer’s owner, Jennifer Berbue, didn’t care about her burning car once she knew her precious pooch had been rescued.
Gabriel’s high school received a phone call from Haverhill firefighters, who praised the teen’s diligent actions.
On Wednesday evening, a grateful Berbue, who’d only had moments to thank Gabriel for his heroic efforts the night before, met up with the teen. To show her appreciation, Berbue gave Gabriel a card with a gift inside, along with a photo of Boomer, which Gabriel has since set as the background on his phone. She brought Boomer along so that he could express his gratitude, as well.
Berbue elaborated on how tragic the outcome of the situation could have been if Gabriel hadn’t sprung into action to save Boomer’s life: “Boomer is everything to us, to our family, so that would be devastating.”
Would Gabriel do it again? According to him, absolutely – cuts, bruises, scrapes, and all.