Woman jumps from burning building | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Woman jumps from burning building

Christina Proctor

An early morning fire forced a South Lake Tahoe woman to jump out of her second-floor window to escape. She was listed in stable condition Wednesday afternoon at Barton Memorial Hospital.

South Lake Tahoe firefighters said a loud explosion and shattering glass woke the two residents around 4:44 a.m. Wednesday at their residence on the 1400 block of Herbert Ave. The husband went downstairs and found the living room engulfed in flames. The man escaped with only minor burns, but the fire cut off his wife at the stairwell. The woman suffered small cuts, second-degree burns and a spinal injury during her perilous escape from the A-frame’s second story.

The couple’s pets, five cats and a dog, who were also upstairs died in the fire, firefighters said.

Battalion Chief Bill Gilliland said both were lucky to escape.

“She was out by the time we got there and she couldn’t have waited. The fire moved pretty quickly. The pets were in the same room as (the couple) were and were not able to get out,” Gilliland said.

The husband called for help and then attempted to fight the fire with a garden hose. Gilliland said the fire probably originated in the living room area, but they are not sure about the cause.

“We’re looking at the heating and natural gas system, the wiring in the home, the sewer system. We think we know about where it started, now we just need to figure out the how and why,” Gilliland said.

It took three engines and 17 firefighters about eight minutes to control the blaze.

“We saved the structure, but all the contents were lost,” Gilliland said.

Damage estimates were placed at about $95,000.

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