A 61-year-old Mission Viejo man was released from the hospital Tuesday, alive and well because of the quick action of an Orange County Fire Department captain.
Fire Department spokeswoman Patti Range said Capt. Joe Ramirez had broken into the front entrance of a blazing home at 28242 Via Herrera about 1:30 a.m. Monday and found Chester Lundquist unconscious on the floor of a rear bedroom, apparently overcome by smoke.
Ramirez had been told by Lundquist's wife, Norma, that her husband was still inside. Although suffering from flash burns around her eyes, she had crawled out a window.
"It was only the captain's fast work that saved Mr. Lundquist's life," Range said.
Both victims were taken to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, where the wife remained Tuesday for further treatment of her injured eyes. She was listed in satisfactory condition.
Lundquist was being provided shelter and food by the Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Range said that damage to the home was estimated at $150,000 and that thee cause is under investigation. "Captain Ramirez can't be reached for comment," Range said. "He went on vacation later Monday."