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LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – A homeless man who saw smoke coming from an east side Las Vegas apartment and then heard children crying inside the apartment, was able to rescue two small children from a burning apartment just before noon Friday. Both children were taken to the hospital with minor smoke inhalation, both are expected to be okay.

Fire dispatchers received multiple 9-1-1 calls at 11:33 a.m. that an apartment at 2616 E. Mesquite Avenue (US 95/Eastern) was on fire and small children were trapped inside. When firefighters arrived, flames and smoke were coming out the windows and door of one apartment of a one story wood frame apartment building with four units. Firefighters went in the front door looking for the children and battled the fire which was also in the front of the apartment. Firefighters had the fire under control in less than ten minutes.

The fire gutted the kitchen and living room, there was heavy heat and smoke damage to the rest of the apartment. The apartment next door had minor smoke damage. Damage is estimated at $50,000.

The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental, a cooking fire starting on the stove that quickly spread across the kitchen.

Fire investigators determined the fire started on the stove in a pan with cooking grease. One of the kids at the hospital told fire investigators the pan started on fire and got big really fast with lots of smoke and it made her scared. The two children, age 10 months and three years were in the living room when the fire erupted. Their grandfather, who was watching them, was in a back bedroom. At this time, smoke started to go out the front door which was open, a security bar door was closed and dead-bolt locked to keep people out.

36 year old Anival Angulo, of Las Vegas, who is currently homeless, was walking by the apartment building and saw smoke from the building and went around to see what it was. He then heard the children crying, he jumped a loced gate into the complex and found smoke coming out the security door. He saw the little girl standing near the door in the smoke filled apartment. She could not open the door, so Angulo starting pulling on the steel door and was able to bend it upward. As he was pulling up, the dead-bolt lock unlatched and the door opened. The little girl ran to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. He could see through the smoke the leg of an infant on the floor. He reached down and pulled the infant out. Both the children were taken away from the building to a safe area. They were later taken to University Medical Center (UMC) to be checked for minor smoke inhalation.

Without the quick action of Angulo, the children would have probably suffered severe smoke inhalation with burns. His action certainly saved the children’s lives.

The American Red Cross is helping three adults and one child displaced by the fire.

There were no other reported injuries.

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