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Aug-21-2006 01:03printcomments

Quick Thinking Kid is a Living Fire Alarm for Salem Family

Efren Lopez was on the ball when he told the family things were really heating up outside their house.

House Fire in Salem, Oregon
Photo by: Tim King

(SALEM) - A house fire on Madrona Avenue SE in Salem could have ended in tragedy Sunday night, but it didn’t. Instead, a young man who lives on nearby Marshall Drive spotted the fire, alerted the people inside, and saved the day.

Investigators don’t know what started the fire, but it apparently began at the rear of the house and before it was over, six trees received substantial damage from the flames.

Salem Fire Battalion Chief Bob Davis confirmed that people heard something really loud, like an explosion, but doesn’t think it was part of what happened, “They said there was a loud boom but that was kind of after the fire and I believe that was probably the fuses off the power pole when the service dropped, disconnected from the house.”

It could have been really bad, if it wasn’t for a 12-year old hero in an adjacent yard named Efren Lopez.

“I was in the back yard with a kid. I turned around and I saw fire and I thought they were playing, and then I saw more, and I went and told a lady.”

A woman who was nearby called 911, allowing firefighters to arrive on scene and prevent a fire that could have been much worse according to the homeowner, who is safe with only a partially damaged house. Paul Cimino of 1630 Marshall Drive SE says the credit goes to a kid named Efren Lopez, andSalem fire crews who got there fast, halting the fire just as it reached the home’s living room and kitchen.

There were no injuries, and investigators say they will continue to piece together what started the fire. They all appreciated the quick thinking of a young man named Efren who was humble, like most heroes.

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