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Deputies pull out 2 from burning Compton home

December 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Sheriff's deputies in Compton are being hailed as heroes Sunday for saving a woman and her disabled son from their burning house.Guillermo Zuniga was terrified. His wife and son were trapped inside their burning home, and he couldn't reach them.

The flames raced through the home from the 14000 block of Gibson Street around 3 a.m. Sunday. Fortunately, a sheriff's deputy was nearby and saw the smoke.

"We had a deputy that was trying to stop the flames from reaching the bedroom where the victims were located with a garden hose," described Deputy Irma Rayas of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

Six sheriff's deputies took part in the rescue effort, some using a pickaxe to pry open security bars off the windows of the house.

Zuniga's wife and 14-year-old son who was born with Down syndrome were hospitalized for severe smoke inhalation and burns but are expected to recover.

Rayas said that teamwork between her fellow deputies and other rescuers made the difference.

"We were all working together to pull the victim out. I think because we all worked together, they were able to get out alive," described Rayas.

Authorities believe the fire was caused by a ground heater in the living room.


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