Deputy saves SoCal family from fire Christmas morning

FRESNO, Calif.

Authorities say Deputy Mike Cruz was patrolling a neighborhood in San Diego County when he smelled smoke. He followed the smell to this home, where he saw flames coming from the garage.

Cruz jumped out of his car and pounded on the door to wake everyone up. All five family members were able to make it out safely.

The homeowner says he's incredibly thankful for the alert deputy.

"So he pounded on our door, and woke us up, and that's when we realized that there was smoke coming from throughout the house. Me and my family, we all thanked him, and God bless him, and we're just very grateful," George Zesati said.

The family is okay, but a dog and several pet birds were killed in the fire.

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