Duplex fire injures 1, displaces 2 families

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SANDY — A fire in a duplex has left two families homeless and one man with injuries.

The fire started around 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon in a duplex in Sandy. Firefighters suspect that the fire started in the kitchen of one of the unit, but the cause has not officially been determined.

One man received third-degree burns on 30 percent of his back and the top of his head when he went back into his burning home to save his dog. He was transported by medical helicopter to receive treatment.

According to a neighbor, Joanna Ersuma, the man's wife ran over to her side of the duplex to ask for a fire extinguisher. Eresuma, who had just finished giving her 5-month-old son a bath when she heard the knock on the door.

"There's smoke billowing out of their side and my neighbor's laying there on the snow with burns on his back," Eresuma said. "I didn't have time to grab anything. I took my kids and left."

Firefighters said the side in which the fire started was destroyed, and there was extensive smoke and water damage to the Eresumas' unit. Andrew Eresuma, Joanna Ersuma's husband, said there is about 3 inches of standing water in their unit.

Her husband, Andrew Eresuma, boarded up the windows of the duplex. He said thanks to a quick-thinking firefighter, the family will still have Christmas.

"He was able to actually salvage our Christmas presents up off the floor before they got water damage, so we really lucked out in that aspect," Andrew Eresuma said.

He said he plans to go visit his neighbor in the hospital.

Her father-in-law owns the duplex and they do have renter's insurance. The Eresumas said they are just grateful their family is safe.

Both families are staying with relatives until permanent housing can be arranged.


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