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Tucson man injured while trying to save pets from fire

TUCSON – His crutches clank every time he takes a step. The walking boot on his leg is itchy and heavy. Still, Anthony Valencia says he would do it all again.

“That’s just me. I’m pretty sure a lot of people would too,” said Valencia.

Valencia says he was visiting his grandmother’s home near Palo Verde and Drexel roads when he noticed a cloud of smoke.

As he walked closer, the pillars of smoke were joined by a series of shouts and screams.

Firefighters say an overloaded power cord sparked a house fire. No one was home but neighbors told Valencia four pets were trapped inside.

“I kicked in a glass door and just jumped in. I noticed when I stepped down on the floor my leg kinda just bent and I couldn’t step on it,” said Valencia.

While Valencia limped away from the burning home, Rural Metro Fire started to arrive.

Within minutes they got inside, got the fire out and got Valencia to a hospital.

“We really don’t recommend that people go in. In fact, we strongly urge people not to go in and try to rescue their pets. It’s better to leave the fire department to do that because it’s really easy to be overcome by smoke as these people did,” said John Walka with Rural Metro Fire.

Firefighters say they were able to bring four pets out of the home. Two were taken to a local veterinary hospital. Two did not survive.

Valencia was treated for lacerations to his lower leg. Officials say a second person was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation injuries.

Nick VinZant

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