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Alert teen spots fire; 2 get out of home
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Firefighters carry a ladder into a burned-out garage to check for hidden fires after knocking down the flames.

An alert 14-year-old neighbor is credited with helping an elderly lady and her son safely get out a southwest Manteca home Thursday afternoon that suffered $200,000 in fire damage.

Sierra High School freshman Anna Marie Saavedr alerted her family to a neighbor’s home across the 1600 block of Sparrowhawk Street being on fire.  Anna Marie said she had seen the leaves on the tree blowing without any wind.  She pointed that out to her mom as they both soon realized the neighbor’s garage was on fire and emitting radiant heat that caused the leaves to move as if they were being blown.

Her mother ran across to the home and pounded on the door. A man walking his dog helped an elderly lady and her son exit the house.

Manteca Fire Battalion Chief Chris Jelinek estimated the loss of the garage and attic areas to $200,000.  Jelinek said that first units to arrive observed a heavy volume of smoke and fire coming from the attached garage.  The two residents were treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation. The adult son was transported to the hospital by ambulance. 

Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to the living quarters.

The woman was mostly concerned about her three cats, Devi, a gray; Tuffy, black and white and Joe Jo that has a brown coat.  One fireman during the salvage operation took it upon himself to look for her cats but with no luck.  He noted that cats will often jump a side or back fence in their fright and come back home after the noise of the fire trucks and other commotion has died down.  There was also hope that a neighbor would find one or all of them.

The woman holding back tears noted that her husband had died a year and a half ago and much of the garage contents had belonged to him.

Four fire trucks had responded with one coming from the Lathrop-Manteca Fire Department and another from the Tracy Fire Department.  

The home is in the neighborhood southeast the Airport Way and 120 Bypass interchange.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email