Deputy rescues 93-year-old man from condo fire

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Dozens of families are out of their homes after an early morning fire at the Club Valencia condominium complex. FOX31 spoke with a deputy who rescued a 93-year-old man in the fire.

Minutes into his shift Wednesday morning, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Deputy Armando Gutierrez got the call for a smoke investigation at 1306 S. Parker Rd.

His body camera video, shared with FOX31, shows the moments unfolding as he runs to the rescue.

“The whole apartment was covered in black smoke, so you can’t see any more than like half a foot,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez isn’t a firefighter, but he ran into one of the buildings with alarms blaring as a neighbor pointed him in the direction of a unit where a 93-year-old man was sleeping.

“I yell into the apartment, and I don’t hear anything back, so I use my flashlight crouched down and start kind of walking,” Gutierrez said. “He’s kind of just frozen. Seems like he’s in shock. I grab him, and he pulls away, and that’s when I kind of realized maybe there was a language barrier.”

Gutierrez learned the man speaks Russian. He and a neighbor were able to get the man out to paramedics, who took him to the hospital for further evaluation.

Guiterrez spoke on the phone with the man’s daughter, who translated her father’s gratitude for the rescue.

“We all sign up to make a difference every day, and then on the days we get to do it, it feels even better,” Guiterrez said. “We’re always there whenever people need help, whatever the case may be, and we’re willing to go above and beyond at all times, just always willing to answer that call.”

South Metro Fire Rescue said the fire was contained around 6:20 a.m. Officials said the fire started in a unit’s kitchen and people from 86 units were displaced. Arapahoe County and the American Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming are providing support.

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