HomeCommunity NewsPasserby’s Action May Have Saved Lives in Fire

Passerby’s Action May Have Saved Lives in Fire

Residents in the 2700 block of California Boulevard were abruptly awakened Thursday morning courtesy of a house fire that created “oven-like” conditions, according to first responders from the San Marino Fire Department.

Firefighters got the call at 5:44 a.m. and responded to the location along with a unit from the Pasadena Fire Department and were able to extinguish the blaze in approximately 20 minutes, according to San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda.

The occupants, a young family with a three-week-old infant, escaped the home and met firefighters upon their arrival. There were no injuries and the fire was contained to the garage and the rear kitchen portion of the home. Officers from the San Marino Police Department assisted with crowd and traffic control.

On Monday morning, Rueda said the cause of the fire was likely electrical in origin, but added that the fire is still under investigation.

Tony Pacheco, a San Gabriel resident who was driving to his job as a building inspector, may have saved lives with his quick reaction to the emergency.

“I was driving up San Gabriel Boulevard on my way to work when my eye caught the smoke from a fire,” said Pacheco, who stopped his car and approached the single-story residence. Pacheco said the fire was raging in the home’s attached garage and began to encroach on the main residence.

Thursday morning’s fire as seen from a helicopter above San Marino.

“I saw that there were some people inside and I started yelling, ‘Out, out,’” Pacheco said. He said he attempted to kick in a door to the residence, but it wouldn’t budge. A resident then opened the door partially, but it was tethered by a safety chain.

“Maybe they were thinking it was a home invasion or something and here was this crazy man who was yelling at them to get out of the house,” Pacheco said.

The residents then evacuated the home and firefighters arrived to battle the growing blaze.

San Marino firefighters spent Thursday afternoon canvassing the neighborhood to offer residents an inspection of their smoke alarms to ensure they are working, and making an offer to install a detector, free of charge, if none were in place or not operating.

“Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms are one of the most important preventative steps to reduce fire deaths and injuries,” said Rueda.

The San Marino Fire Department offers free smoke alarm and fire hazard inspections to residents of San Marino through the Operation: Fire Safe program. Residents can schedule a free home inspection by contacting the SMFD at (626) 300-0735.

More information about the Operation: Fire Safe program and a home checklist are available on the Fire Department’s website, cityofsanmarino.org/OperationFireSafe.

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