Enter your E-mail address to join the Gracie Insider family! Get the Gracie Breakdowns, Gracie Diet Videos, seminar announcements, and contest notifications sent directly to your inbox - for free!

Please fill out the information below
Email Address*

Gracie News

Amazing Story Of Heroism By A Jiu-Jitsu Brother

July 14, 2016

Check Out The YouCaring Page To Help Donate To Everything They Lost

Take a minute to read the story by Rich Jaffe of a jiu-jitsu brother who risked his life to help guide 11 people out of a burning building complex. They lost everything in the fire and their university teacher has set up a YouCaring site for donations.

A much-too-modest hero talked in detail with Local 12 News about a devastating fire.

Those who appreciated his courage were trying to help him in his hour of need. The fire hit a small apartment building in Oakley early on the morning of June 27, killing two people. But more than a dozen survived thanks largely to the efforts of a young husband and wife who lived in the building. Their efforts were nothing short of amazing.

A handful of people were still living in the building as a construction crew tried to resurrect it Thursday, July 7. The place was turned into an inferno the night of the fire; the heat and smoke were incredible. Mostafa Arrouchi and his wife, Maha Lafdi, rescued not only themselves but 11 other people and now they were the ones in need of help.

The fire destroyed everything in the Arrouchi's apartment. TV's and computers melted, furniture and clothes ruined, even Mostafa's bike was trashed. Mostafa had just finished prayers when he heard an explosion downstairs and smelled smoke. Maha Lafdi was asleep in a chair had been overcome by it already.

Mostafa told Local 12, "I just grabbed her from her side and I tried to run to this door right here and as you can see the heavy smoke. So as soon as I opened the door I got hit with some heavy smoke."

Then he headed for the third floor balcony as his wife began to come around, "I had one hand holding the rail and one hand holding my wife while I was lowering her to the safety."

Once on the ground the pair went about waking up neighbors for help and rescuing others from their balconies.

One woman who couldn't walk, "I just picked her up. My wife helped me guide her feet to the second floor," said Mostafa.

As Mostafa rescued Vince Igoe and his room-mate his wife pulled another woman out of the burning building. Both Mostafa and his wife were nursing students at Cincinnati State. The day after the fire the subject came up in class.

"Not Mostafa but a different student said, 'Did you see Mostafa on the news last night?' And I said, 'No I didn't,' and they showed me your news report on their phone. I watched it and I just couldn't believe his courage," said Maggie Bullock Oliveira, a Cincinnati State instructor.

To help replace the things Mostafa and his wife lost Oliveira started a YouCaring page for donations, "Every little bit will help out because he has nothing now."

As Muslim's, Mostafa said they were just doing what their prophet tells them to do, taking care of their neighbors.

"If it's my time it's my time. If I die today at least it's going to be a glorious death. I'm trying to help people and hopefully God have mercy on me if I die, God I was trying to help these people, you know. I know I did bad things back in the day but please can you squeeze me in," said Mostafa.

Mostafa gives credit for his amazing performance that night to an interesting combination of things, basically God and Jiu Jitsu. God gave him guidance and kept him safe and his Jiu Jitsu training gave him the physical strength.

Mostafa and his wife are dividing their time between a now vacant apartment in the building and a hotel room.

Click here to visit the YouCaring page.