Family rescued from burning home in Derby Acres

Posted at 3:05 PM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 21:29:21-04

A family was rescued from a burning house in Derby Acres, when the 15-year-old sister and a neighbor from across the street pulled three children and a man out through a bedroom window.

After midnight, Tayvis Walters woke up hearing crackling and a thud. He looked out his bedroom window to see the house across the street in flames. Walters said he dialed 9-1-1, woke up his grandmother, handed her the phone and ran over to see if he could help get the children out of the house.

"I've seen them grow up and I knew that, the first thing... get the kids and the father away [from the burning house]," Walters said.

He realized the thud was the father breaking through the glass window and falling to the ground, he then pulled the children through the window with the help of the oldest daughter and placed them outside of the fence surrounding the house.

"You could tell the smoke inhalation was bad.. They [the kids] looked like zombies," Walters said.

Walters then grabbed the father and pulled him under the fence with the daughter's help and dragged him across the street.

"After everything starts to calm down and you're realizing you had to do that, remembering how he felt, and starting to smell all of his skin all over me and going to the bathroom to wash all this stuff off..." Walters recounted.

The father is in a burn center, being treated according to Kern County Fire Captain Tyler Townsend. Townsend said the family could have gotten out sooner if they had a working smoke alarm.

Neighbors down the street said after this scare, they're immediately going to get smoke alarms for their house. Sandra Bargas said she has a 1-year-old and a 15-year-old and fear for their safety.

"I woke up to the heat, I felt like I was sunburnt because I could feel the heat on my face. I was probably 5-10 feet away from the hutch, and the whole thing was flames all the way up to the roof," Bargas said this was her close call with a house fire.

Bargas was 12-years-old when her mom's candle exploded and lit the house on fire. Now she's taking extra precautions to keep her family safe.

Neighbors say there are many older homes in Derby Acres that do not have smoke alarms and suggest everyone have them.

Townsend says residents should check their fire alarms twice a year to ensure they're functioning or buy the 10-year lithium battery powered alarm.