05/13/2015 08:18 EDT | Updated 05/13/2016 05:59 EDT

Hichem Ayoub honoured after saving man from burning home

Hichem Ayoub was recognized as a Good Samaritan by Sun Youth this week after he braved thick smoke and flames to rescue a man lying unconscious in his burning home.

Ayoub was driving in St. Leonard one day last month 4 when he heard a woman screaming. 

After pulling over and calling 911, he saw a house on fire with people gathered around it. Without hesitating, he headed into the burning building.

"It was instinctive," Ayoub recalled.  

"When I saw the young woman screaming, I thought she left her baby in the house."

Inside the house, the air was thick with smoke. He found Francisco Martoccia, 53, lying unconscious on the ground with flames licking at his feet. 

Suddenly, the windows in the house blew in, sending Ayoub down a flight of stairs. He got up and managed to get Martoccia outside. 

After being released from the hospital, Martoccia reached out to express his gratitude and invited Ayoub to share a meal. The two men continue to stay in touch. 

"I feel like I've been adopted into a second family," Ayoub joked about the Martoccias

​Ayoub suffered from smoke inhalation and back injuries from the rescue. But, he said, his injuries are nothing compared to what was accomplished.

"The more important part is a human is alive," he said.  

"I did it, and I'm really happy because this person is here, with his wife and kids."