HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) --Firefighters pulled a 16-year-old girl with life-threatening injuries from a burning home near Hayward Wednesday morning.
The girl was one of three children who were injured in the house fire. Two boys got out of the house before firefighters arrived and suffered only minor injuries, according to Alameda County Fire Battalion Chief Tom Pappas.
The 16-year-old girl was airlifted to a South Bay hospital where she remains in critical condition.
Crews worked to board up the roof of the house after the fire.
It was a terrifying moment on a typically quiet street as neighbors looked on in shock. "Seeing everyone around the fire trucks, and then all the policemen, and the firefighters up on the roof breaking the windows down, trying to see inside," neighbor Shanya Prasad said.
The Alameda County Fire Department responded to the one-alarm house fire at Gribben Avenue and Mero Street in the Cherryland neighborhood, but before they arrived on scene a neighbor did everything he could to help. "I don't think she knew where to go, we just kept on hearing her kind of scream and yell," neighbor Mike Nguyen said.
Nguyen who lives down the street was driving by when he noticed two boys, ages 17 and eight outside the burning home.
The older boy said that his 16-year-old sister, Paola Zepeda, was trapped inside. "I was able to jump onto the bed, and I crawled over as far as I could, but the smoke got too thick and too dark, so I couldn't breathe," Nguyen said.
Firefighters were able to rescue the teen girl who was taken to a South Bay hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The Alameda County Fire Department said the conditions were challenging. "Conducting a coordinated fire attack, trying to control the fire, preventing lateral and horizontal spread through the house, along with conducting a search, without the protection of a hoseline was challenging for the crews," Pappas said.
Paola's father Sergio came home stunned to see what had happened to his home. "My wife, she cried and cried and cried," he said.
Nguyen and the rest of his neighbors are pulling for Paola's recovery. "I was scared, I was terrified, but at the same time, I could only think about her just trapped in that house," Nguyen said.
The Red Cross is now assisting the Zepeda family.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.