Silverthorne man saves house, dogs from fire
Most people, watching flames consume their house and knowing there were pets and possibly people trapped inside, might have yelled for help, panicked or called 911. Marcos Mathieu Mirazo grabbed a garden hose. “I came out, I saw the smoke, immediately I took the hose and started spraying water everywhere,” Mirazo said. The Silverthorne maintenance man turned local hero almost single-handedly extinguished a fire that broke out in his Mesa Cortina home Tuesday afternoon, rescuing a dog trapped inside and saving the building from ruin before firefighters arrived on scene. Mirazo, who works three jobs including frequent night shifts, was napping when the fire started upstairs. He was first roused by the shrill shrieks of smoke detectors. “I thought it was an alarm from a different house,” Mirazo said. “And then I heard my neighbor screaming and when I came out(side) I saw smoke. I saw fire coming out of the kitchen on the second floor.” Mirazo’s house is divided into sections, similar to a lock-off, and Mirazo and his family live in the bottom portion of the house. The fire may have originated with a pizza box left on an electric stovetop in the locked upstairs unit, firefighters said.Mirazo reacted. He yelled for his wife to get to safety across the street and hooked up a garden hose, which he aimed at the flames that were reaching through the cracked kitchen window on the second story of the building. But his efforts weren’t working, so Mirazo hauled the hose up an outdoor staircase and, breaking a window in the locked kitchen door with a rock, entered the building and continued fighting the fire head on. “I broke the window in the kitchen door and I came inside the house with the hose,” Mirazo said. “I was spraying (water) everywhere because the fire was big and there was a lot of smoke.” Mirazo would later tell firefighters the black smoke was so thick he would not have been able to see his hand at the end of his arm. “(It) smelled very strong and I have asthma, so it was impossible for me to get deep inside the house,” Mirazo said. Which was when, he says, he got scared. A car belonging to one of the people who lived in the upstairs unit was parked, and, for all Mirazo knew, the man and his two dogs could be inside. Mirazo completely extinguished the flames in the kitchen and called for the neighbor’s dogs, finally coaxing one, a black Labrador retriever, to make his way out. Firefighters from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue and Red, White & Blue Fire arrived on scene minutes later following a neighbor’s 911 call. Still unsure whether one of the residents was inside, responders conducted a quick search of the house and found only the second dog, scared, but unharmed hiding under a computer stand. The fire may have caused as much as $15,000 in damage, but Mirazo’s quick action saved the building and the animals’ lives. “It could have been so much worse,” LDFR deputy chief Jeff Berino stated in a recent release. “That whole place could have burned down. He saved thousands of dollars in damage. He did everything right.” Right down to choosing which window to break, fire officials said. The pane Mirazo smashed with a rock when trying to get into the burning building was the one that would let in the least amount of fresh air to fuel the fire. Several working and well-placed smoke detectors also played a role in saving the building and possibly lives as well. The upstairs residents were all at work and Mirazo’s son was at school when the fire broke out. David Gross, who lives in the upstairs unit and likely would have lost many of his possessions to the blaze, said he was amazed when he heard of Mirazo’s decisive action. “When I got home, I asked (Mirazo), ‘How did they put the fire out?'” Gross told Lake Dillon officials. “He said, ‘I used the hose.’ I was like, are you serious?” For his part, Mirazo said he’s just relieved everyone is safe. “I was very glad to know that nobody died,” Mirazo said. “Because it was a big fire and a lot of smoke. I’ve been here (in Summit County) for 11 years and this was the first time I’ve ever been in a situation like that.”
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