Mesa hero who saved girls from burning apartment gets Carnegie Medal

Sep 25, 2023, 11:11 AM

Photos of the Carnegie Medal and Mesa's Jonathon Baez, was selected to receive the prestigious awar...

Mesa's Jonathon Baez was selected to receive a prestigious Carnegie Medal for saving two girls from an apartment fire. (Carnegie Hero Fund Commission and X/@MesaPD Photos)

(Carnegie Hero Fund Commission and X/@MesaPD Photos)

PHOENIX – A Mesa hero who saved two girls from a burning apartment last year was selected to receive a prestigious Carnegie Medal for his act of extraordinary bravery.

Jonathon Baez was one of 16 Carnegie Medal recipients announced Monday by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

The commission awards medals to individuals in the U.S. and Canada who risk death or serious physical injury while saving or trying to save the lives of others.

Baez will receive a financial grant from the Carnegie Hero Fund along with the medal, which is considered North America’s highest honor for civilian heroism.

What did Mesa man do to earn Carnegie Medal?

Baez jumped into action after seeing smoke coming from an apartment complex on Feb. 18, 2022, the Carnegie Hero Fund said in a press release.

The 25-year-old painter approached the building near Gilbert Road and U.S. 60 and learned that at least one child was inside a burning second-floor apartment.

When he couldn’t get in through the front door, he went around back to find a way in. He climbed onto a storage shed, removed a window frame from a second-floor bedroom and pulled himself partly through the opening.

He found a 2-year-old girl near the window, pulled her out and handed her to a nearby police officer.

Baez then learned that the girl’s 6-year-old sister was still inside. He pulled himself back up and climbed all the way inside.

He crawled through heavy smoke and found the second child in a closet. Baez led her to the window and handed her to another police officer before climbing out.

The Mesa Fire Department was able to control the blaze before it could spread to other units.

A month after the incident, city officials recognized Baez for his bravery.

How did the Carnegie Hero Fund start?

Industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie established the Carnegie Hero Fund in 1904 to recognize and support civilians who perform extraordinary acts of heroism.

More than 100,000 individuals have received the Carnegie Medal, and the fund has distributed nearly $45 million in grants, scholarship aid, death benefits and continuing assistance.

About 20% of medals have been awarded posthumously, including to Roberto Y. Longoria of Phoenix. Longoria, 42, died in 2021 trying to save an unconscious coworker in a hazardous material situation in Avondale. He was selected to receive a Carnegie Medal earlier this year.

Information about nominating somebody for the honor can be found on the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission website.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant to serve indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

5 hours ago

Arizona woman sentenced for mail fraud...

Nick Borgia

Green Valley woman sentenced to prison for defrauding elderly clients

A Green Valley insurance agent was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Tuesday for mail fraud, according to a press release.

7 hours ago

Fire breaks out in home where man accused of shooting his baby...

Suspect identified in Surprise police standoff case that involved baby shooting and house fire

A man was accused of shooting his baby in a Surprise residence he broke into on Friday. A fire later broke out in the house, officials said.

8 hours ago

north mountain brush fire...

Nick Borgia

Firefighters achieve fire control on brush fire near North Mountain in Phoenix

Firefighters have achieved fire control on a brush fire near 7th Street and Thunderbird Road, authorities said Saturday.

9 hours ago


Nick Borgia

Fire crews responding to wildfire near Vista Verde in Tonto National Forest

Fire crews are responding to a wildfire near Vista Verde, north of Dynamite Boulevard and 136th Street on the Cave Creek Ranger District.

10 hours ago

David Pagniano....

Man sentenced to life in prison for burying wife alive in grave north of Prescott

A man from Prescott was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month for burying his wife alive in a grave north of Prescott.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Mesa hero who saved girls from burning apartment gets Carnegie Medal