Cop saves 5-year-old girl from burning house, attends her graduation 19 years later

A young girl was saved from a burning home 19 years ago by a cop.

She reunites with her guardian angel 19 years later at her college graduation.

Josibelk Aponte considers herself lucky. Few people get to meet their guardian angels.

Josibelk Aponte was a 5-year-old girl when she was almost killed in a fire at her family’s home in Hartford, Connecticut, on June 25, 1998. Fortunately, a police detective, Peter Getz, rushed to the scene and saved her with CPR after a firefighter pulled her out of the building.

Nineteen years later, Josibelk graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University and wanted to share this important occasion with him

Aponte has a special place in her heart for retired Hartford police detective Peter Getz, who stood with her, beaming as if she were his own child, in the XL Center Tuesday as she graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University.

“There are only a few moments that are so important in life,” Aponte said. “I wanted to share my graduation with everyone who’s important to me, who have been there for me, and who helped me through tough times.”

A fire in the Aponte family’s apartment on Washington Street broke out as Josibelk, then 5 years old, was home with her uncle Jofrey.

Her memory of that afternoon is fragmented, flashes of recollection that survived the ordeal.

She can envision the thick smoke filling the room and trying, in vain, to wake up Jofrey. Then, darkness.

Meanwhile, Getz, a patrolman, was rushing to the scene. He got there in time to see a firefighter pull a small girl from the building. In his rush to get back inside to stamp out the flames, the firefighter thrust Aponte into Getz’s arms.

Medics hadn’t arrived yet. Time was running out. Aponte had gone into cardiac arrest, Getz said. As his partner drove them to the hospital nearby, he initiated CPR on Josibelk at the back of his patrol car. She was breathing on her own when they reached the hospital.

Josibelk also received a teddy bear from Peter during her stay in the hospital, and she still has it

She lost touch with Peter after her family moved away. A few years ago, she reconnected with him through Facebook after some “Facebook stalking” and also invited him to her graduation. To be able to see Josibelk receiving her degree, Peter said it “makes my heart beat faster.”,,

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