Family escapes fire through window

A baby was thrown out the front window of a burning house and neighbors banded together to save two adults and up to two other children from a recent three-alarm blaze.

The family was trapped in the home after the Saturday fire caused an electrical outage to jam shut a front-door security gate. Around 100 firefighters from 15 trucks battled 20-foot flames that started to leap from the home on Cuvier Street near the Glen Park BART station a little before 11 p.m., Fire Department spokesman Ken Smith said. He said the three-alarm fire was put out before midnight.

“It was just a tough fire to fight,” Smith said. He said the cause of the fire is under investigation and that the heavy metal security gate locked shut when the house lost its power.

“When the power is compromised and you have an electronic gate in the front, you can’t get out that gate,” Smith said. “They broke out the front window and went out the front window.”

Neighbors told The Examiner they were alerted by screams from the home. They said the parents of the three children were vacationing in Mexico and the children, ranging in age from 11 or 12 years old, were being cared for at the house by their uncle.

Alex Garcia said as he ran toward the burning house, he watched the uncle’s girlfriend throw a baby out of the window and into the arms of a man.

“Then the lady jumped out and I caught her,” Garcia said. “I’m 6 foot tall and I weigh 220 pounds, so she wasn’t too heavy for me. Anybody would have done it — I just happened to see it.”

Iliana Hernandez lives across the street from the house that caught fire. She said that as the fire took hold, the garage door lit up, “like something electrical going on,” with a rapid-fire strobe-light effect.

The two-story, six-room, wood-framed house was built in 1908, according to information published by the County Assessor. Excluding the value of the land and everything inside the home, the badly damaged house was valued by the assessor’s office at roughly $190,000.

An adjacent house also suffered some fire damage, Smith said.

jupton@examiner.com

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