Just after 1900 hours on September 15, 2016, Jessica Fazekas, the wife of LVFC Captain James Fazekas, and her neighbor were outside talking when they heard a nearby smoke detector activate. After a minute or so they went across the street to investigate and immediately saw smoke in the townhouse. Not seeing any car out front and knowing that there were small children living there, the neighbor called 911 while Jessica forced the front door. Once inside she was met with a moderate smoke condition but no heat. She made her way to the kitchen where she found a fire inside the oven but could not find a fire extinguisher so she went back outside. After passing along the information about the fire contained to the oven to 911, she went back into the house and checked the second floor to make sure the children were not in the house. While checking each room she had to stay low due to the amount of smoke. Finding no one upstairs she went back outside, called 911 and advised them that everyone was out. This information was then relayed to the units who were now responding for the structure fire.
Upon arrival, members of Duty Crew 2 on Engine 20 took a line to the front door while Truck 20 laddered the structure and performed a search along with Rescue 20. The fire was contained to the oven and damage to the house was minimal. All other units were quickly put in service while crews used fans to remove the smoke. Units were on scene for 45 minutes.
Mrs. Fazekas acted on instinct and with no fire training and in her bare feet, located the fire and conducted a primary search of the house. While the LVFC does not condone civilians entering a burning building and encourages everyone to get out and stay out, we do want to recognize Jessica Fazekas for her actions.
Photo Credit for all side A and B photos: D. Sanchez
Photo Credit for Side C photo: Trish Megica
Important note for the side C photo: The bright glow coming from the house is not from a fire, it is from the work lights inside