2 kids suffer serious burns in San Jose fire, neighbors called 'heroic'

ByMatt Keller and Vic Lee via KGO logo
Thursday, June 25, 2015
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Two men at an apartment complex are being called heroes after they tried to put the fire out as two kids had to jump out the window.

SAN JOSE (KGO) -- Firefighters are commending the brave neighbors who injured themselves while trying to rescue a mother and two children trapped in a burning apartment in San Jose on Story Road.

The children jumped out of a window and are now hospitalized. This was a dangerous fire and may have been much worse without the help of some Good Samaritans.

Firefighters said just after 8 a.m., flames and smoke in the kitchen forced the boy and girl, believed to be between the ages of 10 and 13 to take extreme measures. They jumped about 15 feet down to the ground. They had serious burns and possible broken bones or other injuries. They were taken to the burn unit at Valley Medical Center.

Two neighbors jumped into action when the fire broke out.

"I just ran to the apartment and tried to break the door," said Julio Lopez, neighbor.

Lopez, 27, injured his hand breaking the window of a fire extinguisher case.

Juan Carlos Gonzalez, 18, was right alongside him. He broke the window of the apartment and started using an extinguisher to put out the flames. He also injured his hand. A woman was inside the apartment. She escaped with their help and was taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation. The two young men are being called heroes by firefighters.

"You feel like a hero?" asked ABC7's Matt Keller

"No, I'm just a normal person," said Gonzalez.

"Just doing what you felt like you had to do?" asked Keller.

"Yeah, because I live down there. I didn't want anything to burn," said Gonzalez.

"You know we don't recommend going into a building on fire. That's what we're trained to do and we have the protective equipment to do. But it's nice to see someone who cares enough about their neighbors to put themselves at risk," said San Jose Fire Department Captain Mike Van Elgort.

Fire investigators are on the scene. They say the cause of the fire does not appear to be suspicious.