Mother to hero neighbor after fire: "He's my angel" - Tucson News Now

Mother to hero neighbor after fire: "He's my angel"

Source: KOLD Source: KOLD
Source: KOLD Source: KOLD
Tucson News Now -

Marcia Balderrama remains in shock, more than 24 hours removed from the fire that destroyed half her home. As she walked around the outside and looked at the charred walls of the Tucson home, seeing the blackened and burned garage, she recalled what happened.

"He was knocking pretty hard. I didn't know who it was. And then I smelled smoke immediately," Balderrama explained. 

Around 1:30 Saturday morning, large flames had taken over that side of her property, on the 2200 block of East Highland Drive, opposite her and her 7-year-old daughter's bedroom. 

She was asleep and had no idea of the danger. The flames were large enough to alert her neighbor two doors down. 

Larry, who didn't want to speak on camera to Tucson News Now, said he was smoking outside at that time in his front yard and saw an orange glow reflecting off nearby homes. Fire officials said he went up on a ladder to get a better look and saw the flames, before running over to Balderrama's home and waking her up.

"He really saved our lives. He really did. I can't see it any other way," Balderrama said "He's my angel. He really is. He's my angel."

Marcia and her daughter got out safely, with no other warning. Their smoke alarms were down. Balderrama said she had removed them to paint the walls in her home.

"They're so important. How important smoke detectors are. That was the biggest mistake for myself."

In a news release, Tucson Fire Department officials said, "three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. You should have a smoke alarm inside and outside each bedroom and on every level of your home."

The Red Cross has Balderrama and her daughter in a hotel until they can return home safely. Firefighters said it took about 10 minutes to get the fire knocked down. There were no injuries to the firefighters, the residents, or the neighbor.

Investigators are still looking into how it started, but Balderrama is thankful it didn't spread any further.

Looking back on the frightful moment, she is also thankful to her savior, Larry, to have helped them get out unharmed.

"This is just a house," she said looking at the damage. "We're safe."

Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

MOBILE USERS: Download our app, the most-used news app in southern Arizona, to get breaking news alerts, weather forecasts and exclusive content on your Apple and Androiddevices.

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Red Cross closes Sawmill Fire shelters

    Red Cross closes Sawmill Fire shelters

    Saturday, April 29 2017 3:36 PM EDT2017-04-29 19:36:58 GMT

    On Saturday the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross announced that both shelters set up for the Sawmill Fire are now closed. 

    On Saturday the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross announced that both shelters set up for the Sawmill Fire are now closed. 

  • BREAKING

    SAWMILL FIRE: Officials say at 61 percent contained, some personnel to demobilize

    SAWMILL FIRE: Officials say at 61 percent contained, some personnel to demobilize

    Saturday, April 29 2017 1:50 PM EDT2017-04-29 17:50:20 GMT

    Officials have confirmed the wildfire burning in southern Arizona was caused by a recreational shooter.

    Officials have confirmed the wildfire burning in southern Arizona was caused by a recreational shooter.

  • Economic Impact of Pima County Fair

    Economic Impact of Pima County Fair

    Saturday, April 29 2017 12:18 AM EDT2017-04-29 04:18:53 GMT
    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)

    The Southwestern Fair Commission says the event impacts our local economy by $34 million. They hired FMR Associates Inc to produce an Economic Impact study. 

    The Southwestern Fair Commission says the event impacts our local economy by $34 million. They hired FMR Associates Inc to produce an Economic Impact study. 

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

  • 'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    Thursday, April 27 2017 12:17 AM EDT2017-04-27 04:17:43 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:32 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:32:02 GMT
    Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children.

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children. 

  • 'I got 2 clips!' Impatient mom pulls out gun, threatens barber cutting son's hair

    'I got 2 clips!' Impatient mom pulls out gun, threatens barber cutting son's hair

    Friday, April 28 2017 5:45 PM EDT2017-04-28 21:45:21 GMT
    (Source: Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County Facebook)(Source: Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County Facebook)

    Police are looking for a woman who pointed a gun at a barber all because her son's haircut was taking too long.

    Police are looking for a woman who pointed a gun at a barber all because her son's haircut was taking too long.

Powered by Frankly