11-year-old girl checking on Elf on the Shelf saves family from San Jose house fire

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A family of five is thankful to be alive after a one-alarm fire destroyed their San Jose home on Thursday morning.

11-year-old Berlin Gomez-Muniz is a hero thanks to her fast thinking, getting her mother, father, sister, and grandmother out of their burning home.

"I woke up and went to check my Elf on the Shelf and then I went back inside my room and all I saw was black smoke and then I saw fire," said Gomez-Muniz.

She said she immediately knew it was a fire when she saw the black smoke -- something she says she learned on the news.

By the time the San Jose Fire Department responded to the home on N.19th Street, that black smoke was pouring from the roof.

San Jose Fire Department Captain Mitch Matlow says several trucks and engines were dispatched to knock down the one-alarm fire.

"The cause is under investigation, but there is a possibility the Christmas tree may have been involved," said Captain Matlow.

The San Jose Fire Department confirms there were two working smoke detectors inside.

The home is completely destroyed -- and with it, the Christmas presents bought for her 10 grandchildren, Leslie Muniz told ABC 7 News.

"I just got her gift," Muniz said. I got it on Groupon. It was a VSCO girl kit. It was in the room and it burnt."

Unfortunately, the family said their cat didn't make it out alive.

The family, displaced by the fire, will be housed by the Red Cross. They also released a GoFundMe page asking for support and children clothes donations.
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