Passerby wakes family inside burning house

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A passing motorist woke a family early Friday morning because their Georgetown Road house was on fire. The mother and two children escaped unharmed, and the hero disappeared.

Danisca Rimerez told firefighters the man, whom she described only as "in his thirties," woke her by pounding on her front door around 12:45 a.m. Rimerez grabbed her children from their beds and left from the front of their house in the 3000 block of Georgetown.

The stranger and Rimerez hugged; she thanked him, then he drove away. "I just want to say thank you to him," Rimerez told Eyewitness News. "I don't know his name, but I really appreciate it. And God bless him for his kind heart to stop and worry about somebody else."

Firefighters were able to put out the fire at the back of the house in about 20 minutes. Most of the damage was at the rear half of the house, which Rimerez rented.

"I will not forget his face," Rimerez said. "He is like my guardian angel. Thanks to him, my kids are here and we have another chance."

Fire investigators have not determined a cause, but damage is estimated at $30,000.

The fire left the home's windows blown out, the inside scorched floor to ceiling and the detached garage siding melted like wax. The fire also left Rimerez' neighbor, who didn't want her face shown, paralyzed in fear.

She says that's one reason the Good Samaritan's timing couldn't have been better and she remembers his every move.

"He ran out, ran to the door, pounded on it and told them their house was on fire," the neighbor said. "I am upset with myself, because I didn't think to do it."

The neighbor was also afraid of flames spreading to her house.

"I was worried that it was going to jump the driveway, which thankfully, it didn't," she said.

Rimerez told firefighters they had no working smoke detectors and that the man who alerted her saved their lives.

"He woke us up and that's all I know. I just want to say 'thank you' to him," she said.

Firefighters also rescued the family's dog.

Rimerez and her two children are staying with relatives.