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Traffic control workers save family from burning home in Magalia

Two traffic control workers saved a family from a burning home in Magalia on Monday.

Posted: Mar 9, 2019 9:46 AM
Updated: Mar 9, 2019 9:49 AM

MAGALIA, Calif. - Two workers from Traffic Management, Inc. saved a family from a burning home in Magalia on Monday.

Robert Patrick and Gonzalo Martinez were just finishing up their job on Creston Road when they saw the window of a home across the street burst into flames. 

It all happened so fast, they said. 

Martinez said he knew a family was in the house because earlier that day a young boy came outside and was looking at their trucks. 

As soon as they saw the flames, Patrick and Martinez sprinted across the street and tried to beat down the locked door. Suddenly, a woman came outside with her arm on fire. 

Patrick said they both used their jackets to pat out the flames and save her. 

"All of our hearts were racing," they said. "'You know what?' I'm saying, we know a child was in the home and we were just trying to do the best we can to try to figure out if they had exited yet or what was the case and it just so happens they were asleep in the back room. We just busted out the windows and got their attention and we heard the child screaming and they were coming out of the back door because the front door wasn't accessible because of the flames."

Fire trucks arrived on the scene about five minutes after Patrick and Martinez guided the family to safety. 

Brian Wilson, his grandmother and his two-year-old son have lived in the home for eight years. 

Wilson said that his grandmother was making a fire starter out of a dixie cup, candle wax and sawdust, something she has done many times to keep warm. However, the candle wax on the stove got too hot and caught on fire. 

"Me and my son were in my bedroom, I was trying to put him down for a nap and my grandma comes in and said, 'Get out, the house is on fire,'" Wilson said. "I didn't even hear that, All I hear is pop, crackle, snap and glass breaking, so I grabbed him and ran out and this is when I saw the traffic crew." They told us that the house was on fire.

"So if it wasn't for the traffic crew and everything we probably would've been in the house," Wilson explained.

Wilson said his neighbor is letting him and his son stay in a trailer until next week, but after that he said he will be out on the street. 

Although his home was spared in the Camp Fire, he is now scrambling to find housing alongside many others in his community. 

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