A Pasadena fire captain who planned to watch an NFC championship game Sunday ended up rescuing a woman and a small dog from a burning duplex near his East Los Angeles neighborhood.
One person was hospitalized, said Franklin Lopez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
“Los Angeles County fire officials who arrived on the scene praised him for saving the victim’s life,” said Lisa Derderian, a Pasadena spokeswoman.
Firefighters have not yet determined what caused the fire in the 3800 block of Rue Dozier, which started just after 10 a.m. The woman’s daughter told Pasadena Fire Captain William Basulto that two of their three dogs died in the fire.
On Sunday, William Basulto took his father, Trinidad Basulto, 73, and son Ryan Basulto, 26, to watch a game between the Rams and the San Francisco 49ers. He also paid for parking at the back door. There they were to be met by Ryan Basulto, who was cleaning the carpets of a famous rapper that morning.
The plan was to leave at 10:30 a.m. and arrive there around 11 a.m., William Basulto said. He told his father that he was going to load the car. Trinidad Basulto, who was sitting on the porch of his house, saw the smoke and pointed to it.
The elder Basulto lives in the front house and William Basulto lives in the back house on the 3800 block of Rue Dozier.
William Basulto saw the thick black smoke getting darker and darker. When he didn’t hear any sirens after about 20 seconds, he decided to get into his car and check the fire.
At first he thought the fire had started a block behind on Hummel Street, but found a damaged two-story detached duplex on his block.
He tried to climb the stairs. The fire came from the front window. He asked someone for a tool to get inside and asked other people to break the front window and put in a garden hose.
He was told that a woman was locked inside. He noticed a woman in the bedroom window and asked people for a ladder. But the ladder was short so he asked for a longer ladder which was provided.
When he got to the woman, she was not alone.
“She gave me her dog,” said William Basulto. “For the first time in my life I touched a dog”
Basulto said he was afraid of dogs. When he was 7 years old, a dog bit him on the face near a Sunday fire.
According to Basulto, the woman was able to go down the stairs with him.
She told him that her 22-year-old daughter was also stuck in the duplex. It turned out that the daughter was not in the house, he said.
“At this moment, I hear sirens. I hear them coming. I’m informing the fire captain,” William Basulto said, adding that he also extended a helping hand to firefighters at the scene.
According to Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Sean Ferguson, firefighters were on their way to a doctor’s call when they saw the smoke and traced it to Dozier Street. Firefighters put out the fire in about six minutes, he said.
Fire and traffic delayed the Basultos, who arrived at the parking lot around 12:30 on Sunday. But William Basulto did not mind that they had less time to communicate.
Basulto entered the duplex on Monday, January 31, and met the woman’s daughter. According to the fire captain, she thanked him and also said that her mother was staying in the hospital. He also learned that the people who helped him in the fire were relatives of the woman he had saved.