Neighbors saved young man's life in explosion

September 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Jessica Morales, 20, died in the San Bruno explosion and her boyfriend, Joseph Ruigomez, 19, was badly burned trying rescue her.

Ruigomez was horribly wounded trying to save his girlfriend and suddenly found he needed saving himself. A family rushing to escape the danger, risked their lives to help him.

ABC7 first met Tammy Zapata the day after the explosion, talking about the neighbor she helped save. She said, "...that skin just rolling off him and he's in critical condition."

On Monday night Tammy, her husband Mike, and their daughter Amanda showed ABC7 what used to be their neighbors house. It is gone, but Ruigomez is alive. They believe the explosion blew the young man nearly 300 feet to their doorstep.

"He still had smoke coming off his body at the time he walked up to us and how he was walking and talking..." said Mike shaking his head in disbelief.

At the time the Zapatas were trying to escape, but they stopped to put Ruigomez in their car and drove to the nearest hospital.

Ruigomez told them his girlfriend had died in the blast. They tried to keep him from going into shock.

"I kept him conscious the whole time," said Amanda.

"Yep, she made sure. We prayed, both of us prayed," said Tammy.

The Zapatas have been able to return home and are sharing their story, hoping a disaster like this never happens again. They don't consider themselves heroes, but they have a new friend.

"I don't know how he got to our house. I don't know how he made it. I know it was God, but I mean I don't know," said Amanda.

"It's not over. We're bonded forever, forever," said Tammy.

On Monday night the neighborhood seems surreal with the homes coming back to life and children even riding their bikes down the street, but for the Zapatas and others, life will never be the same.


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