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Passersby Credit With Saving Lives In Orland Park Fire

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(AP File Photo)

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ORLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) — A south suburban fire chief says passersby helped saved the lives of a family of seven early Tuesday morning in Orland Park.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller reports, the fire broke out around 1 a.m. Tuesday in the 14200 block of Clearview Drive.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller reports

The amount of fire pouring out of the garage door meant one thing to Orland Fire Protection District Acting Chief Raymond Kay – that if somebody hadn’t alerted the sleeping family in the nearby house, they would’ve been killed.

The owner of the home, Gonzalo Davila Sr., was asleep inside with his wife, son, daughter and three grandchildren.

Chief Kay says people passing by stopped and woke the family up.

A man driving past pulled over, ran to the house and began pounding on the front door until it was opened, while a woman driving by stopped her car and called 911.

“The story to me is that we had bystanders who were willing to help,” Kay said. “If they hadn’t stopped and called and hadn’t gotten those residents out, we suspect the fire would’ve grown in size and certainly gotten into the living areas and potentially killed those people.”

Chief Kay says no one in the family was hurt.

Gonzalo Davila Jr. said the passerby bravely ran past the “very hot fire” in the garage at the front of the home, and once he got into the house, his shouts roused others, and the man carried Marisol Warner, 3, to safety.

The fire did extensive damage to the garage, Kay said. The blaze was so intense, it melted the plastic headlight covers of two vehicles parked in the driveway as well as plastic garbage cans nearby.

Davila Sr. said there’s a smoky smell in the house and cleaning is needed. The family spent the night at a motel in Orland Park and likely will stay there until the home is ready for occupancy, Angelica Warner said.

Davila Jr. said the family “heard a lot of fireworks, bottle rockets and M-80s (Monday) night,” but Kay has ruled out fireworks as the cause, which is under investigation.

The SouthtownStar contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.