Valley man hailed as hero after saving victim of apartment fire

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PHOENIX – A Valley man owes his life to a stranger after a fire broke out at a Phoenix apartment complex over the weekend.

It happened Sunday afternoon near Central Avenue and Bell Road.

Alex Lazar and his mother were driving home from church when they saw the smoke and the flames.

Lazar jumped out the car, reportedly before his mother was able to completely stop, and ran up to the second-floor where he found the man struggling in the smoke.

“He couldn’t really speak,” Lazar said. “He was just spooked. From the smoke inhalation, he couldn’t really think straight. If I hadn’t gone in there and helped him out, he could have easily gotten burned and died.”

Lazar helped the injured man to safety.

The 41-year-old victim, whose name has not been released, was taken to the Arizona Burn Center at Maricopa Medical Center. In addition to smoke inhalation, he suffered burns to his hands and his face. At last check, the man was in stable condition. He is expected to recover.

Between the smoke and flames and the water firefighters used to knock down the fire, four units were damaged.

No other injuries were reported.

Investigators do not know how the fire started.