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Rescuing nephew from burning car which killed US-Tongan brothers changes auntie’s attitude towards homeless people

A homeless man in Santiago, California risked his own life to rescue a driver from a burning car.

The driver was rescued from the burning car

As Kaniva News reported last week, two Tongan brothers, Atonio Makalio Taliauli, 25, and Deonzeo Talia’uli, 26, were passengers in the moving vehicle before it crashed on Marconi Avenue and Connie Drive.

A relative of the deceased told Kaniva News Atonio was pronounced dead at the scene while Deonzeo later died in hospital.

The Sacramento Fire Department reported a single-vehicle crash with three victims early morning Monday, August 1 near Marconi Avenue and Connie Drive.

The relative said the third man was the driver and he was a cousin of the brothers.

He was still in hospital and the family had described his condition as “progressing slowly”.

A video shared on Facebook appeared to show an aunt of the deceased, Tupou Leone, was speaking during a family meeting as part of the preparation for the funeral.

She told the meeting they visited the crash scene and she was happy to personally meet the homeless who rescued the driver from the fire.

She said she bought food for the man and other homeless people who helped the rescue mission.

“The food was small to match the love they had”, she said to compliments from the rest of the family who responded by saying, “Fakafeta’i!”, “Mālō”.

Leone said whenever she saw homeless people she thought they are nothing and wasting their time.

“But now I have changed my attitude. Any homeless I see tells me everybody is special and useful”, she said in Tongan.  

The crash was being investigated by the California Highway Patrol, the Fire Department said.