Mom, 2 Kids Rescued From Burning Denver Home

Woman, Teenage Daughter, 7-Year-Old Boy Among Victims

A woman and her two children were unconscious when firefighters pulled them from a burning home in Southwest Denver early Tuesday morning.

Firefighters were called to a home on South Eliot Street near West Virginia Avenue, by Alameda and Federal, shortly after 4 a.m. When firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out of the windows.

Firefighters went inside and found the victims during an initial search of the single-story house. The three victims -- a 47-year-old woman, 15-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy -- were all unconscious.

Denver Fire Lt. Phil Champagne told 7NEWS emergency crews performed CPR on the three victims on their front lawn.

"I know this, crews got there quickly. They gave them the opportunity to survive. We did our very best," Champagne said.

All three were rushed to the hospital in "very serious condition," he said.

A family spokeswoman said the teenage girl, Diana Mendez, and the boy, Juan Angel Alvarado, are both at Children’s Hospital in the intensive care unit.

"Both are in serious condition and on breathing tubes. Doctors say they can’t breathe on their own because of swelling and toxins in their lungs," said family spokeswoman Colleen Alvarado.

Alvarado said Juan is burned over 20 percent of his body, on his chest, his forehead, his hand and his foot. Doctors say it will get worse before it gets better, Alvarado said.

Their mother, Patricia Garcia, was just moved to University Hospital and is also in the ICU on a breathing tube because of toxins in her lungs, Alvarado said.

Husband, Stepfather Julio Garcia Walks 7NEWS Through The Charred Home

Hours after firefighters rescued his family from the house fire, Julio Garcia walked 7NEWS through the inside of the charred home.

In the living room was a melted scanner and damaged television. The appliances in the kitchen were covered in soot and the dishes on the counter were charred black. Crime scene tape was on the ground near the fireplace, where firefighters believe an unattended candle started the fire.

"When I came out, I saw big smoke and the fire," said Garcia through a translator.

He said his barking dogs woke him up, alerting him to the fire.

"I tried to pull them out and I told me wife, 'Let's get out of here,' but she ran to the room," said Garcia. "I grabbed the hose; the kids' bedroom window was open so I started throwing water so that the fire would stop."

His wife and step-kids were rescued by firefighters.

"At that moment, I actually wanted to be Superman or one of the superheroes, but in this case it was not a movie," said Garcia. "I felt defeated, from my soul; trying to save them. I couldn't."

Garcia said he did not have insurance but had planned on getting some this week.

Home Had No Smoke Detectors

7NEWS confirmed with the family and the Denver Fire Department that there were no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors in the home. State law requires both to be in all homes.

Family At Hospital In Critical Condition

Alvarado, who is the children's aunt, said she can't thank emergency responders enough for saving her niece, nephew, and sister-in-law.

"You know it's going to get worse before it gets better," Alvardo said. "The doctors have been talking to us about swelling and blistering internally. It just goes to show that life is really short. And everybody should take the opportunity and appreciate every single moment."

Firefighters said they received conflicting reports of three to four people trapped in the house. Champagne believed one man -- Garcia -- may have escaped the home on his own.

A neighbor said that he heard the father screaming for help and saw him trying to put out the fire with a garden hose.

Neighbors and firefighters told 7NEWS the stepfather's behavior was unusual.

"It was odd. You know? It was not consistent with the event. The thing is, you don't know. It's tough for us to judge," Champagne said. "He could've been in shock, a multitude of issues. He did suffer some minor injuries. You know, we're not casting any judgment. But we're certainly taking a critical look at that behavior."

7NEWS was first on the scene. 7NEWS reporter Eric Lupher described the scene as frantic as firefighters tried to extinguish the flames and resuscitate the victims.

The fire was extinguished within 15 minutes, Champagne said.

The home was gutted and because of the tremendous amount of damage.

Champagne told 7NEWS that the teenage girl made the "dramatic" 911 call for help and then the call went dead.

The family dog died in the blaze.

More Information:

  • The family's home was destroyed and there will be huge medical bills ahead of them, a family spokeswoman said. A fund for the family has been set up at Wells Fargo. People can contribute to the “South Eliot House Fire” fund at any Wells Fargo branch.
Print this article Back to Top