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Family helped tenants out of Idaho Falls apartment fire

By Tyler Berg
Published On: Jul 01 2013 07:33:12 PM CDT

One family helped tenants of the building get out safely. Adela Garza, 16-years old, saw the fire first and called 911. She then pulled the fire alarm, grabbed the fire extinguisher and went upstairs with her father.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

A Sunday morning fire put one man in critical condition and destroyed three apartments. Seven families from the Sand Creek Apartment's A-building are calling a hotel home for now.

One family helped tenants of the building get out safely. Adela Garza, 16, saw the fire first and called 911. She then pulled the fire alarm, grabbed the fire extinguisher and went upstairs with her father.

"Me and my dad started banging on doors, banging on windows trying to get people out," said Adela.

Adela's father, Ruben, said the decision was easy, despite the heat and thick smoke.

"You're doing something for friends and neighbors," said Ruben. "You don't have time to think."

The firefighters arrived shortly after, and Ruben and Adela were left to watch.

"You would not believe how much damage a fire can do so fast," said Ruben.

But the Garza's weren't done quite yet. Shortly after 3 a.m., Adela heard something cracking in the destroyed apartment across the parking lot. She looked and saw a flame.

"It looked like a lit candle inside the apartment," said Adela.

So for the second time, Adela called and reported a fire.

"They ended up spraying it down a lot," said Adela.

Many of the tenants of the A-building were staying at the Candlewood Suites last night, thanks to the American Red Cross. Michael Petersen is one of them.

"We just bought everything brand new, I'm not even kidding you," said Petersen. "It's smoke damaged."

Petersen said it could be anywhere from two to five days before he's back in his apartment.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
 

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