Firefighters save sleeping woman from burning home

Published: March 21, 2007 | 5822nd good news item since 2003

A Rio Rancho woman is alive today because of the work of two Rio Rancho firefighters.

At about 9 p.m. Tuesday, firefighters arrived at a home on the 200 block of Santa Elena Road in Corrales Heights to find the garage fully engulfed in flames, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman John Francis.

While two firefighters fought the fire, and more firefighters joined them later, two more searched the house for anyone still inside.

In the back bedroom, Capt. Sean Bergen and firefighter Ray Denison found a hearing-impaired woman in her late 60s still asleep in the bed, Francis said. Hoisting her upon his shoulder, Bergen carried her out of the building.

“Had they not gotten to her in time, most likely she would have succumbed from smoke,” Francis said.

Instead of meeting an untimely end, the woman was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for minor smoke inhalation and released, Francis said. A second resident in that home was out of town during the fire.

The victim of the house fire, Francis said, is being housed by the Red Cross. While her home is currently unlivable, Francis said it was salvageable.

The firefighters targeting the blaze had it under control within 20 minutes and were able to return to the station after several hours, Francis said.

The fire marshal is still investigating the cause of the blaze. The only detail Francis released was that it started in the garage.

Francis did not know if there were smoke detectors in the house, but as the woman was hearing impaired, he also was unsure if she would have heard them.

Although fire deaths are on the rise nationwide, Francis said, Rio Rancho has not experienced the same trend.

“Luckily, we have not had a fire death in Rio Rancho in years,” he said.

Published in Firefighters, Rescues
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