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Neighbor Pulls Woman Out of Blazing House : Rescue: The Garden Grove resident suffered minor injuries before she was taken to safety. The fire was sparked by holiday lighting.

December 17, 1995

GARDEN GROVE — A woman suffered smoke inhalation and minor facial burns before a neighbor pulled her out of her home after holiday lights decorating a Buddhist shrine malfunctioned Saturday morning and sparked a fire, officials said.

Dang Thi Nhien was taken to Garden Grove Hospital for treatment after the fire at her house at 13662 Bowen St.

Firefighters credit a neighbor, Sean Burleson, with pulling her out of her home to safety. No other injuries were reported.

"Christmas lights were decorating the shrine when they malfunctioned and we had an electrical fire," said Fire Capt. Jeff Guyer.

Burleson, 32, said he and his family had just arrived home from a soccer game when his son, Sean Jr., 5, noticed smoke coming from a home about five doors away.

"I just started running down the street and the front of this house was all engulfed in flames," Burleson said. He said he crashed through the gate and went around the back, yelling to anyone inside.

Just inside the back door, he saw the woman, crouched down, spraying a wall with a garden hose.

"She was in shock, I think. She didn't seem to realize how bad it was and she didn't want to leave," he said. "I just picked her up and carried her out to the backyard."

Burleson said he does not know the woman, and that they only wave to each other. But he said they probably will meet after she receives treatment.

Burleson said he had never done anything like that before and that the feeling "was pretty special."

"It's very special," he said. "It's kind of a different day. It's one of those things that's indescribable."

Burleson said the adrenalin expended in the excitement left him exhausted later Saturday. "I lay down for a minute this afternoon and ended up taking a two-hour nap," he said, laughing.

The fire displaced seven adults and one child, who were assisted by the Red Cross and were expected to spend the night with relatives, Guyer said.

The fire started shortly after 10 a.m. and was contained by 10:40 a.m. Authorities estimate the fire caused about $120,000 in damages. More than 20 firefighters and medics and nine fire units responded to the scene.

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