Intense smoke and fire woke up a Reedley couple Monday morning, trapping them in the second story of their home. The couple escaped from their two story bedroom. Officials say the fire started downstairs and quickly spread.
"We saw the home up in flames and we called 911 right away," neighbor Venecia Torres said.
Torres lives next door to the home that was engulfed in flame. Her aunt and uncle live in the residence. Hours after the fire, she got a clearer look at the extensive damage. Torres says her family was asleep when the fire broke out and her uncle jumped into action.
"How she got out was by the window in the upstairs bedroom. My uncle had to knock the window down and jump from the second floor, get a ladder so he could get my aunt down" Torres said.
"His effort was phenomenal. I'm just thankful the children were not home and were staying at a relative's house because things may have been different if they had been home," Reedley Fire Chief Jerry Isaak said.
Isaak said the fire was likely started by lights left on a Christmas tree or another decoration overnight.
"That was sad. My uncle was very proud of his tree. It was so sad," Torres said.
Now that Christmas is over, fire officials say now is a good time to remove dry trees and check your smoke alarms.
"It's always a good idea to check the batteries in your smoke alarm. Make sure they're all working because today a smoke alarm absolutely saved two lives," Isaak said.
The cause of the fire is remains under investigation. Officials say the home is a total loss and estimated damage in the hundreds of thousands.