POSTED: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 9:06am
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 9:52am
EL PASO (KTSM) — Four families were displaced after a fire ripped through their apartment building in the Lower Valley. Nearly 40 firefighters battled the blaze that started on San Jose and Wenda Drive.
"We were just telling them to jump down. They were scared for their lives," said neighbor Jose Ibarra.
"They were just frantic. Everybody was frantic around here," said neighbor Jose Vasquez.
Neighbors at the San Jose Trail Apartments showed true human spirit as a fire ripped through the four-unit building.
"They were coming out through the second floor apartment window. We had to catch them," said Vasquez.
Vasquez was watching TV at 9 p.m. Tuesday when the fire started in his neighbor's apartment.
"We heard like a loud explosion. We came outside because usually the kids are just outside playing football and no we saw the apartment on fire, so we rushed everyone out of the apartment," said Vasquez.
Before firefighters arrived, Vasquez and a group of neighbors laid out a mattress on the ground so the family could jump from a second floor window.
"They jumped out. We caught them at the bottom with the mattress," said Vasquez.
"We all had our hands up. We just wanted to help them," said Ibarra.
After firefighters put the blaze out in 25 minutes, four families made of 13 people walked away with only the clothes on their backs and some blankets.
Vasquez said before they were just neighbors but now, they're friends.
"After today, I think everyone is going to know each other pretty well," said Vasquez. "Everybody pulled it together so we could get them out of there."
Two people had minor injuries and paramedics treated them at the scene.
Investigators said a child who was playing with matches started the fire.
Damages are estimated at $60,000.