CHULA VISTA (CNS) - A man roused from slumber by a smoke detector was able to save his blind mother from a predawn fire that tore through their South Bay home Friday.
The blaze on Minot Avenue in Chula Vista was reported at 5:15 a.m., Deputy Fire Chief Jim Garcia said.
Emergency crews arrived to find a woman in her 60s in front of the single-story home, suffering from burns to her feet and legs, and her son inside the burning structure, trying to find a way to halt the spreading flames, according to Garcia.
Firefighters escorted the man outside and attacked the blaze, getting it extinguished within about 15 minutes. Medics took the woman and her son, who is in his 20s, to hospitals, where both were treated for smoke inhalation and the mother received care for her burns. Both had been released by early Friday afternoon.
Crews were able to save a small dog they found in the home's garage, but several caged birds in the same area died in the blaze.
The source of the fire apparently was an electric blanket the woman had been using to warm herself while sitting on a couch after her husband went to work, Garcia said. Her son told investigators he'd led her out of the house before re-entering in hopes of putting out the flames.
The family's proper use of a fire-alarm device likely saved the lives of the mother and son, according to Garcia.
"In this case, here's a situation where truly if the smoke detector didn't activate and wake up the son, we could have ended up with a double fatality," he said.
The American Red Cross was called in to help the residents arrange for interim lodging.
The monetary losses were set at roughly $200,000, Garcia said.
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