Man rescues 75-year-old woman and her cat from burning home in northwest Fresno

"I got her and I sort of carried her out to the front. Her and her cat."
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Flames shot up into the night sky from a home at Maruyama and San Madele in northwest Fresno on Tuesday night.

Crews focused on attacking the roaring fire from outside, knowing everyone made it out safely.

And they have one man to thank for that - Andre Larrond.

He was driving through the area just before midnight when the fire broke out.

"I turned the corner and there were no paramedics or fire trucks, there was nothing here and I saw smoke coming outside that garage," he said.

Lorrand put his life on the line to rescue an elderly woman from inside the burning home.

He heard her screams from a broken window.

When he finally made it to her, she begged him to save her cat.

"She is 75 years old, the lady," he said. "I got her and I sort of carried her out to the front. Her and her cat."

Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire, but when they arrived they found the garage engulfed in flames.

Earlier that night, crews responded to another house fire, this time in Fresno County near Shields and Locan.

"The fire was well established within the home, working its way through the bedrooms and the living space," said Fresno County Battalion Chief Ryan Michaels.

RELATED: Woman hospitalized after fire rips through home in east central Fresno

Firefighters said a woman was badly burned as she tried to alert her family.

Her five children made it out uninjured, but the courageous mother had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

Investigators believe a malfunction in the water heater ignited the fire, which left the home unlivable.

The Red Cross is now providing support for the family.

"What are their needs and then trying to meet those immediate emergency needs, whether that is for one family or thousands," said Lori Wilson, Executive Director of the Central Valley Red Cross Chapter.

Red Cross officials said this year they responded to nearly 250 house fires across the Central Valley and helped more than 1,000 people.

"We have definitely felt like it has been an increase," she said.

As for the woman Larrond rescued, she's staying with family.

He adds she and her cat were in good spirits when he said goodbye.

"She was joking around and able to walk all the way around the corner to the ambulance with her cat," he said.
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