Fire destroys Abernathy home, one woman hospitalized - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/24/10

Fire destroys Abernathy home, one woman hospitalized

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By Ann Wyatt Little - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Fire investigators say an overloaded extension cord is to blame for an accidental afternoon house fire in Abernathy.

First responders say there were no smoke detectors in the house, but it was the quick thinking of neighbors that likely saved the life of 47-year-old Patricia Denton. She is in critical conditions recovering from smoke inhalation at University Medical Center.

Jose Vilegas was outside playing Tuesday afternoon when he smelled something burning. "Smoke was coming out from the vent and there was a little bit of fire," said the 12-year-old boy who ran inside his house to get help. "I saw it and said call 911," said his father Jose Vilegas who ran about 300 feet to the burning house.

"It was a real person that needed help. We were just worried that no one else in the house and that she's okay," said Lucio Polanco, Vilegas' cousin. Officials on the scene say the two men grabbed Denton from her burning house.

"My dad kicked the door in and my uncle saw the lady on the floor so he grabbed her," said the youngest Vilegas. "We got her and cleaned her face with some snow and started hitting her back and she got sick and started breathing again," said the elder Vilegas.

"We got the call that there was a person in the house. When we got here the individual was in the front yard being cared for by some on lookers then EMS transported that subject to the hospital," said Abernathy Fire Chief Kelly Vandygriff.

Firefighters from Abernathy and New Deal battled the blaze that started around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. "Everything in the house is destroyed. What didn't get burned suffered heat damage and smoke damage," said Vandygriff.

As for the two men who did not know Denton, they say they did what they hope anyone would have done. "In our community, people need to look out for each other when danger is involved," said Polanco.

The state fire marshal's office wants to remind everyone if you don't have smoke detectors to install them and to change batteries at least twice a year.

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