SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Firefighters rescued a man from a burning home in South Los Angeles Saturday morning.
The single-family home on W. 85th Street was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived on scene.
CBS/KCAL9 reporter Cristy Fajardo said the rescue was captured on dramatic and sometimes terrifying cellphone video.
Other people inside the home were hurt scrambling to get out.
Dozens of firefighters worked to save the man — a roommate of the homeowner — and the residence.
The cellphone video shows flames shooting through the roof and smoke billowing towards the sky.
The owner and a friend are shown being attended to on the sidewalk. The elderly roommate was still inside the home.
“I started hearing like ‘Get out, get out!'” said witness Marisol Ceniseros, “and our neighbor started screaming for us to come out. So when we came out, we started seeing all the smoke coming. Dad got the water hose and he started watering on the side. Her brother started watering this side.”
Ceniseros was visiting her parents next door when the fire broke out.
She said neighbors pulled out hoses to help beat back the flames. One brave man took it a step further.
“There was a gentleman who went in and pulled a couple of people out,” Ceniseros said, “and he went to the back house and forced the lady back there to come out. She didn’t want to come out.”
Her cellphone video was rolling when minutes later you see firefighters arrive.
The smoke was thick and filled neighbor’s yards. Visibility was poor but firefighters were able to use a thermal-imaging camera to find an elderly man in a back room.
He was in bad shape but still alive.
“The critical patient was actually in a bedroom,” said Assistant Chief Jaime Moore of the LAFD, “It doesn’t look like he was trying to get out. he was on the ground, unconscious and not breathing when the firefighters found him.”
Hours later, firefighters were still finding hot spots.
Officials said although they do not know what sparked the blaze, if the home had smoke detectors there would have been less damage.
Family members of the homeowner told Fajardo that it’s all been a bit too much for him to deal with. Just last week, the man lost his brother and now, possibly, his home of 46 years.
The family is now praying that the friend who was critically injured will also pull through.