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Housing found for homeless man who saved Lyon shopkeeper from fire

Fabrice will also receive a medal which he says he will accept as his parents, who are no longer alive, would have been proud

An image of a street in Vieux Lyon

Fabrice, the homeless man who saved a Lyon shopkeeper from a fire, is being rewarded for his bravery by local authorities Pic: BalkansCat / Shutterstock

A homeless man who saved a Lyon shopkeeper from a serious fire has been offered housing by the municipality after a petition was launched and collected more than 50,000 signatures.

Read more: Petition calls for home for homeless man who saved Lyon shopkeeper

Fabrice, 36, was asking passersby for money on a street in Lyon’s fifth arrondissement in late November when a fire broke out in a nearby brocante shop. The owner was inside and trapped by flames caused by his gas fire which had toppled over.

Fabrice saw smoke coming from the shop and immediately found a way to get in to rescue the owner, who as a result emerged with just light burns to his hands. 

“I didn’t think about it, I went into the building, I found the gentleman who was lying on the ground three metres away from the door,” Fabrice told BFM Lyon

“He was conscious, but he was no longer moving. I grabbed him by the feet and got him out, and after that everything in there burned.”

The shop was completely burnt down.

After the rescue, rapper and influencer Ousme Dia launched a petition on Twitter, Facebook and Change.org, calling for the “hero of Vieux Lyon'' to be given a home and a job by the mayor of Lyon Grégory Doucet and prefect of the Rhône department Pascal Mailhos. 

“We hope that this homeless man will be rewarded by the authorities and that he will be able to benefit from a job and a home in view of his act of bravery,” the petition said.

A crowdfunding campaign was also opened by a woman who works close to the place where Fabrice pitches his tent. 

“I saw the sub-prefect,” Fabrice told BFM Lyon. “He came to see me where I was sleeping, with the director of the Samu social [humanitarian emergency service]. Now I can tell you that it is official, I am going to be given a medal.

“They asked me if I would like a ceremony or something like that, and I told them ‘no’, that they should just bring it discreetly to where I sleep. I am proud to accept it, because I know that my parents would have been proud of me if they were still here,” he added. 

Fabrice will also be offered social housing, and has appealed to anyone who may be able to employ him – preferably in manual work outdoors – to get in touch. 

“If there is someone who would like to hire me, I am a very good worker,” he said.

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