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BURBANK : Neighbor Helps Save Woman From Blaze

May 19, 1994|ED BOND

A 57-year-old woman was saved from a fire started by a cigarette in Burbank when a neighbor awoke to the sound of breaking glass early Wednesday morning, fire officials said.

Helen Redington suffered second- and third-degree burns to a leg and an arm in the fire that started at 3 a.m. Wednesday, Burbank Fire Marshall Darryl Forbes said.

The fire was touched off by Redington's cigarette when she either fell asleep or dropped it on the couch, Forbes said.

Steve Helmace, a neighbor across the street on North Evergreen Street, heard the living room window shatter as the fire spread and called 911. He ran across the street and although he could hear the woman in the house, he could not get inside.

Burbank Police Sgt. Eric Rosoff arrived and kicked in the front door, but could not get past the heat and flames. A few minutes later, Burbank firefighters were able to enter and found Redington in the kitchen.

Forbes did not know if Redington was still conscious when she was rescued, but she was able to talk to paramedics on the way to the St. Joseph Medical Center.

The fire caused $30,000 in damage.

Forbes said Redington was saved because Helmace reported the fire so early and told rescuers that there was a woman trapped inside the house.

"In my opinion, her condition would have been much worse--if not dead--had he not responded as quickly," Forbes said. Redington was later transferred to UCLA Medical Center, but her condition was not available from a hospital spokeswoman.

After the fire was put out, Forbes found a pet Chihuahua in the dining room apparently groggy from smoke inhalation. "It's being taken care of by neighbors," Forbes said.

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