Edna Reyes was the first person to arrive at the home on Douglass Street Monday morning. To her horror she arrived to find her neighbors house in flames, the elderly woman inside screaming for help -- trapped behind a pad-locked exterior gate.
Reyes immediately tried to calm her neighbor, ""'Stop you know, you're okay. I've already called them they're on their way. I'll help you,'" she recalled telling the woman and then said, " But I couldn't get over her security gate."
That's when next door neighbor Mel Zamora rushed over to help.
"She says please get my husband out he's still asleep, he's still asleep," Zamora recalled. "So I kicked the door down and couldn't go in cause there was too much smoke so I said, 'You got to get out of here!'"
With what he called "sheer adrenaline," Zamora lifted the woman up and pulled her over the gate.
Police officers arrived and started cutting the security gate. The smoke was so thick, three of the officers sufffered injuries from smoke inhalation.
Firefighters were able to reach the man sleeping inside. He was sent to the UCSD Medical Center and was last described as in critical condition as of Monday morning.
The female resident and all three officers were treated at nearby hospitals and released.