VICTORVILLE (CBSLA.com) — A San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputy is being called a hero Saturday for saving the life of an 7-year-old girl who was trapped in a quick-moving apartment fire.
The fire — which gutted eight apartments in all — broke out just after 2 a.m. Saturday morning, according to authorities.
CBS2’s Joy Benedict spoke to the grateful girl.
“Last night they left me in there,” said Nevaeh Nemes. “Because they didn’t see me.”
Nemes was sleeping over a friend’s second-floor apartment with five other girls. When she woke up, she was alone in the room.
“I smelled something,” she said. Benedict asked her what she smelled. “Fire. Smoke.”
Witnesses didn’t get the deputy’s name, they didn’t remember his face. They told Benedict, all the know is the deputy was a hero.
“We just heard this scream and that’s when the cop just ran up there, full speed, and he just grabbed her,” said witness Cordero Merritt.
“If it wasn’t for him, she would never have gotten out of there,” said Maurice Brandon, Nevaeh’s father.
The deputy has now been identified as Arturo Ramirez — who works the overnight shift.
Sgt. Albert Anolin, his supervisor spoke, to him this morning.
Ramirez ran into the building and found two women, and two children, huddled together in the corner. He led them to safety and then said he saw the unthinkable. “Two little hands pounding on the inside window,” said Anolin.
He went back inside and rescued Nemes.
“As a father he understands there is nothing more important than your child,” said Anolin.
“I was calling for help,” Nemes recalls. “The police officer came and got me.”
The blaze caused an estimated $500,000 in damages.
Investigators have not yet determined what caused the blaze but say it appears to be an accident.