Neighbors rescue baby, family from house fire

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Neighbors helped rescue a family, including a 3-month-old baby, from their burning home after a fire that started in a vacant house spread.

It happened in the neighborhood northwest of 35th and Dunlap avenues, south of the Arizona Canal.

The first 911 call came in shortly after 12:30 a.m. Thursday. The initial caller reported a trash fire in front of an empty house. As fire units from Phoenix and Glendale responded, the 911 lines lit up with callers reporting huge flames spreading from the vacant house to the home next door.

At the same time, two young men who were just getting home saw the flames as they jumped to the second house. Knowing the woman who lived there with her baby, her parents and another adult were in danger, the pair wasted no time. They pounded on windows and doors in an effort to wake the sleeping residents.

"If it hadn't been for them, I would have been dead with my baby," Wendy Hernandez said. "I thank God that they let us know what happened." Everybody escaped unharmed.

Hernandez has lived in the area for about three years and knows her neighbors, including the men who came to her rescue, well.

The fire gutted the vacant home. The Hernandez home sustained enough damage that the family will not be able to return right away. The Phoenix Fire Department Crisis Response Team arrived on-scene to assist family with shelter, Capt. Benjamin Santillan said.

Investigators are trying to determine what sparked the fire.