Massarah Mikati Houston Chronicle

BAYTOWN, Texas — Harris County Sheriff Deputy Roberto Martinez frantically ran from window to window of the Baytown trailer home that was engulfed in flames.

“Ma’am can you hear me? Where are you?” he asked at each window, flashing his flashlight and using the end of it to tap on the glass.

Early Tuesday morning, he eventually found the room in which Eloisa Martinez—no relation— was trapped. He broke through the window with his flashlight, pushed aside a chest of drawers stood in front of the window and helped the 63-year-old woman through the window. Coughing heavily and repeating, “I got you, mama,” he carried her — and his 30 pounds of gear — to the safety of the front yard.

“I’m just glad I was able to be there,” the deputy said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, refusing to be called a hero. “Any one of us would have done it, and most of us probably have done it at some point in their career.”

Both Deputy Martinez and Eloisa Martinez, along with her husband, were hospitalized after the fire for smoke inhalation, officials said. Two children were treated and released on the scene.

A neighbor called the Baytown Fire Department at 3:19 a.m. Tuesday about a heavy fire in the 6500 block of Zaragosa Street from a neighbor. The fire was under control in about 45 minutes, Baytown City Hall spokeswoman Natasha Barrett said, but the trailer home is a total loss.

“They can’t live in there again, but they managed to salvage plenty of stuff from the inside,” Barrett said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Barrett said it is believed to be accidental, and possibly caused by a chiminea the family had running on their porch overnight.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said it was fortunate Martinez was able to find the deputy in the first place.

“The challenge with fires is with smoke, you can’t easily use your references and line of sight,” he said. “She could have easily gone in the wrong direction.”

Deputy Martinez said it was difficult for him to find the woman, too, but “would do it all over again.”

Deputy Martinez saves woman from burning trailer home

Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Roberto Martinez arrived less than five minutes after being dispatched to a trailer home fire in the 6500 block of Zaragosa at 3:25 a.m. on Tuesday. He found the home engulfed in flames, and residents told him a woman was trapped inside. Deputy Martinez busted a window with his flashlight and called to the 63-year-old woman inside as smoke poured through the opening. He then reached inside, lifted the woman through the window and carried her to safety before collapsing from exhaustion and choking on smoke. The woman and Deputy Martinez were treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation. The Baytown Fire Department responded to the fire, and they tell us the blaze is believed to have been accidental. We’re proud to serve with Deputy Martinez. Follow us on Twitter at 2 p.m. to hear from Deputy Martinez and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. Warning: video is unedited and includes some salty language.

Posted by Harris County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, March 5, 2019


©2019 the Houston Chronicle

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