San Diego

2 Risk Lives Running Into Burning Building to Save Roommate

The fire broke out in a home on Ridgefield Avenue in Carlsbad

Two roommates risked their lives Tuesday when they ran into a burning Carlsbad home to save their roommate from a fast-moving fire. 

The fire broke out on the second floor of a condominium complex on Ridgefield Avenue at 3:13 p.m. Tuesday, according to Carlsbad and Oceanside fire officials. The location is south of State Route 78 and east of Interstate 5 and El Camino Real. 

One woman - identified by her roommates as Barbara Struther - suffered moderate burns in the fire, officials said.  

Struther managed to escape the fire at first, but then ran back inside for an unknown reason, her roommates said. 

Roommates Angela Easterly and Dennis Soto said the three of them were in the backyard when suddenly, Struther ran back into the house, cutting through flames to get back to her room. 

When Easterly asked why she was racing in, Struther did not reply and just kept running. 

"I went up after her," she recalled. "She walked right into her room, into the fire."

The flames trapped Struther on the second floor of their condo. When Easterly opened the door to Struther's room, she could hear her roommate screaming. 

"I just grabbed her and dragged her downstairs, because she was screaming and couldn't see anything," Easterly recalled.

Her two roommates said the backdraft burned Barbara when she tried to open her bedroom door. 

"She got flashed in there," Soto said. "When she was in there, it flashed on her and that's when she got the burns."

"I'm glad we were there," Easterly added. "She probably would have lost her life." 

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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