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Neighbor Rescues Woman, 18, Trapped Inside Burning Reseda Home

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RESEDA (CBSLA.com) — A man rescued an 18-year-old woman who was trapped inside a burning Reseda home on Thursday.

The incident happened around 12:45 p.m. at a one-story, single-family home in the 17000 block of Vanowen Street, according to Battalion Chief Stephen Ruda of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Edwin Hernandez told KCAL9’s Adrianna Weingold that he heard screaming and saw flames, broke a window with his bare hands and dragged his neighbor to safety.

“I just saw the fire and ran over there.  And she was banging on the window, and I got her out,” he said. “It was pretty hot. There was fire coming out of the windows and stuff. I hurt my hands in the process of getting her out, but that’s all right. I just got some cuts…better than the person dying.”

Two off-duty law enforcement officers also helped with the rescue.

Firefighters and animal control officers saved a litter of cats from the residence.

About 75 firefighters extinguished the blaze in more than an hour.

Fire officials said the home was so packed with stuff that the woman couldn’t find her way out.

“Inside the home, once again, packed conditions make it very difficult for rescues, make it very difficult for homeowners to get out of their own home,” Ruda said.

The victim is being treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation, burns and cuts from broken glass.

A firefighter, who suffered minor burns to a hand, and a 54-year-old woman, who suffered minor smoke inhalation, were also hospitalized.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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