San Diego

Teen Rescues Brother, Dog in Chula Vista Apartment Fire

The teenager, awoken by the fire, took his 10-year-old brother and ran out of the house. He then ran back in to rescue the family dog.

A Chula Vista family is displaced Saturday after an early morning fire tore through their second-story apartment.

The fire started around 2:20 a.m. in the 200 block of Third Avenue, near Davidson Street, Chula Vista Fire Department (CVFD) Batallion Chief Trevor Flores said.

By the time firefighters arrived, the flames were already pouring out of a second story window, a bedroom belonging to a 14-year-old boy.

The teenager, awoken by the fire, took his 10-year-old brother and ran out of the house, said Dante Covarrubias, the 18-year-old elder brother of the two.

"His first priority, was my brother, he ran out here and left him out here and told someone to call 911," he said. 

The 14-year-old then ran back into the burning home to rescue the family dog, Covarrubias said.

"This makes me really proud to be his brother," he said.

Covarrubias wasn't home at the time of the fire. He got the frantic call and returned as quick as he could to find firefighters still battling hotspots and onlookers from the neighborhood bars.

The 10-year-old and 15-year-old were taken to the hospital, one for smoke inhalation, the other for an issue relating to asthma, Flores said.

Covarrubias' father was also taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, he said.

The fire displaced nine people at the three-unit apartment complex, though residents of the two apartments that were not on fire are expected to be allowed back in a day or two, Flores said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation but Covarrubias believe it was an electrical problem.

As Covarrubias was helping his grandmother pack up his car with whatever they could salvage from the fire, questions linger. Covarrubias doesn't know where the family will live or how he will replace the hundreds of dollars worth of books for his college classes. 

"Things happen can't do much about it," he said as a pile of burned belongings and memories sits the driveway, including his high school track jacket.

Red Cross has been contacted to help the family, Flores said.

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