Pinoy caregiver dies after saving employer's family from house fire

By Connie Macatula-De Leon, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Feb. 24, 2014

NILES, Ill. – Two months ago, live-in caregiver Allen Belaguas, 21, became a hero in many peoples’ eyes.

The Filipino caregiver saved the lives of the sister and father of his employers who were visiting when their Naperville, Ill. house burned down.

After he pulled them to safety he rushed back to save his employers Tom and Jan Lambert. Tom, 57, suffered from brain cancer and Jan was blind.

Authorities, who are still investigating the cause of the fire, said the second floor may have collapsed on Tom and Jan, which resulted in their deaths.

Belaguas was critically injured and rushed to hospital.

Belaguas struggled for almost two months until he died on Feb. 16 at a hospice facility.

As friends and family gather at Colonial-Wojciechowski Funeral Homes, they mourn and remember the good life of Allen Belagus or Awish. He is gone, but to his loved ones his memory will last forever.

“Awish was a happy and jolly person,” Belaguas friend Rico Moreno said. “If his friend has a problem, especially someone who is close to him, he will give all his time to help his friend.”

“Normally, when I come home from work, I always come home and go to his room and say, ‘Hi son, how are you?’”
Belaguas stepfather George Pierson said. “This time, Tuesday, I came home at 2:30 and I went straight to his room, didn’t even say hi to my wife; I just went straight to his room and then, he wasn’t there.”

They hoped for a miracle, but learned to accept Belaguas’ death, knowing that he is no longer suffering.

“I witnessed his struggles,” Belaguas’ mother Zeta Pierson said. “I cried with him. I prayed that if He wants to take him, go ahead and take him. I don’t want him to suffer any longer.”

As the Filipino community grieves for losing Belaguas, they also take comfort knowing that he died a hero.

“I am proud to be a Filipino because what he did was heroic,” Marie Smith, Belaquas’ cousin, said. “He knew that his life was in danger but he still went above and beyond his job responsibility. I salute him.”

“He is definitely a hero,” Balaguas’ friend Ofelia Dionisio said. “He sacrificed his life to save the people inside the house.”

A private cremation was held last Sunday for Belaguas. Due to financial difficulties, his family has not been able to bring Belaguas’ remains back to the Philippines.

His mother has a message to all Belaguas’ relatives and friends in Cagayan de Oro where he grew up.

“Allow me to spend time with my son here in America,” his mother Zeta said. “This is my only chance to be with him since we have always been apart until recently. When the time comes, I will bring him home to the Philippines.”

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