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Arizona family saved from fire thanks to neighbor's quick thinking

valley family saved from fire.PNG
Posted at 11:26 AM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-29 17:25:36-05

PHOENIX, Ariz. — An Arizona mother is grateful to be alive after a neighbor alerted her that her home was on fire.

Margarita Santana was getting ready to go to sleep at her Phoenix home Friday night when she heard a banging on her door from her next-door neighbor, Judith Sorto.

"She was knocking really hard, saying, 'Your house is on fire,'" said Santana.

"The heat, you can feel it, like when you open the oven," said Sorto, who said she was decorating her Christmas tree when she smelled the smoke.

When Sorto rushed next door to alert Santana and her family, there was only an orange glow. Minutes later, the entire home was going up in flames.

Santana, her 13-year-old daughter, other family members, three dogs, many chickens, and the family fish were able to survive the fire. The family's bird did not survive.

In total, eight people were displaced by the blaze.

Santana said she does not know what started the fire, other than it started in the family's workshop near the back of the home, adjacent to two bedrooms.

Santana said she's incredibly thankful for Sorto's quick thinking.

"I don’t even know what to say. I’m just so grateful for them," Santana said.

The fire also burned a power pole, causing a transformer to blow, and partially burned a neighbor's utility truck. 

This story was originally published by Adam Waltz at KNXV.