POSTED: Monday, March 7, 2011 - 10:50am
UPDATED: Friday, August 31, 2012 - 1:39pm
EL PASO - A smoke alarm is credited with saving the lives of a Northeast El Paso family.
Firefighters say it gave them the chance to escape from their home as it went up in flames this morning.
“I had never seen a fire that bad," said Israel Ortega, a neighbor who saw it all happen.
It started around 4:30 a.m. in the 5000 block of Orleans.
"It was scary. I thought the other houses were going to catch on fire too," said another neighbor, Roy Martinez.
Firefighters evacuated nearby houses, also fearing the flames would spread.
"Flames were shooting 30 to 40 feet in the air. You could see how hot it was. Things were popping and it was really crazy,” said Ortega.
It took 50 fire firefighters to put the fire out. Three adults inside the home escaped and paramedics rushed them to the hospital for smoke inhalation, said firefighters.
A smoke alarm is credited with saving their lives.
The fire caused about $200,000 in damage to the house.
"It started in the garage area and spread to the rest of the house. There is very heavy fire damage to the structure," said Chris Celaya, Deputy Fire Chief with the El Paso Fire Department.
Investigators said it looks like the fire started on accident. It's still under investigation.
The Red Cross is now helping the family with a place to stay.
Neighbors know it could have been much worse and say they'll help the family get back on their feet.
“The house doesn't matter. Luckily they came out with their lives," said Ortega.