Three veteran Corpus Christi Fire Department firefighters were taken to the hospital after working to extinguish a two-alarm blaze on the south side of Corpus Christi on Tuesday.
Battalion Chief Scott Marsh said they arrived at the home in the 7500 block of Cannes Dr., at around 7:23 p.m. He said smoke could be seen coming from the house all the way to nearby Yorktown Boulevard.
Once inside. Marsh said the fire "flashed" on firefighters, driving them out of the house.
A "mayday" call for help was put out as three firefighters were lost in the smoke. They were eventually found and taken to the hospital, where Marsh said they were being evaluated, but are doing well.
"After that, we set up into a defensive mode and put our truck company up in the air and put a large (amount) of water on the fire," he said.
It took 10 engines and 34 firefighters to control, and eventually, put out the fire, which was contained to the home. Marsh said the second floor is badly damaged, but said the house isn't a total loss.
The incident remains under investigation. The homeowners said no one was inside at the time.
"The fire department was phenomenal," said neighbor Travis Emerson. "I mean, the first responders and what they’re going through with all the COVID-19 and everything else – to be able to come out here and take care of this: They did an amazing job. Amazing. Fast. They were awesome. "
Emerson was one of the first people to realize his neighbor's house was on fire.
"My kids were outside and they said there was a fire, so I ran out real quick to see it and there was . . . smoke -- major smoke coming from the very top pf the house and I just wanted to get them out of there," he said.
He said the fire escalated very quickly.
"It just happened in, like, five seconds, man: It went up that fast," Emerson said. "Literally. Five seconds. Fire. Boom. All over the house."
He said his neighbors were outside when the fire started. When the man tried to go into his home to get a second set of keys, Emerson said he pulled him out.
"There was too much smoke, so I just grabbed him outta there and that was it," he said. "They weren’t going back in, man. I took in enough smoke, and I know his adrenaline was going so he wasn’t feeling what I was, you know, so I just grabbed him."
The homeowners were unharmed, which Emerson said was his main priority: Keeping his neighbors, and his neighborhood, safe.
"I wanted to make sure they were safe," he said. "That’s what I would want someone to do for my family, you know? We got ‘em out safe. They’re good."