Neighbors save 2 families from house fire

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 19 at 11:31 AM

Map: 67th Ave. & Olive

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Investigators are trying to determine what sparked a fire that left two families homeless Friday morning.

It happened at 12:30 a.m. in the neighborhood of 67th and Olive avenues in Peoria.

Neighbors spotted the fire and began pounding on the doors of two houses to wake the residents.

Abraham Martinez said his mother told him to go outside.

"I went outside and on the side of the house, there's a big, giant ball of fire," he said.

"There were a lot a lot of flames coming out of the house from across the street," neighbor Barb Pelts said.

The fire started in one house and then jumped to the converted carport of the home next door.

Anticipating a dangerous, potentially deadly, situation, firefighters went defensive. They got out of the burning house before the roof caved in.

Video from the scene showed two holes in the roof of the first house, which was destroyed. The second one sustained less extensive damage.

Thanks to their neighbors, both families escaped unharmed. No injuries were reported.

It's not yet known how the fire started, but witnesses said they heard popping noises at the utility meter.

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