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Homeless Woman Thanks Officers Who Saved Her From Tent Fire

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A homeless woman who survived a tent fire this week thanked the Los Angeles police officers who rescued her.

The fire inside Deborah Gray’s tent occurred early Thursday morning in downtown Los Angeles when a candle tipped over. Within seconds, the tent caught fire.

“It just seemed like I just closed my eyes for a minute. I guess the bright woke me up and I could hear voices,” she explained.

The voices she heard came from officers’ Kyle Rice, Martin Garcia and Sergeant Mike Baptista. They were driving by when they noticed the flames.

“I was trying to get out of the door. I couldn’t find the zipper and that’s when he told me, ‘Forget it. Come to me,’” she said.

“As I reached in because I was worried for her safety. As I was pulling her out, an explosion happened,” Rice explained.

Garcia added, “I was standing next to my partner. I felt the heat from the flames. It exploded about my height. About 6-feet–tall.”

The explosion was the result of a radio battery catching fire.

Rice suffered first-degree burns. Gray’s injuries were minor.

Gray lost her tent and most of her belongings but tells CBS2′s Rachel Kim that her gratitude is immeasurable.

“They have a special place in my heart. Every time I see them I’ll probably start crying but they’ll know what it is,” she said. “Rice, Garcia and Baptista. A heck of a team. Protect and serve. They did that.”

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