City of Phoenix employee turns into hero to save family from fire

Posted at 7:55 PM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-15 22:57:00-04

Edgemont Avenue sits tucked behind 33rd Avenue and Thomas Road.

It’s normally quiet on weekdays but a Tuesday afternoon fire broke the pattern.

"I saw plumes of black smoke rising into the air," said City of Phoenix employee Andy Carrillo. 

Carrillo is a solid waste foreman. But once he saw the fire brewing from 35th Avenue, his job description became a minor detail. Carrillo drove to the home and frantically dialed 911, flashed his lights and honked his horn. He tried everything he could to warn the family inside. He even grabbed a fire extinguisher from his truck, in case he had to break the door down.

"I knew it wouldn't put out the fire but if there were people in the house I knew I would have to go in," said Carrillo.

Liz Paz was inside the home with her cousin and son. They had no idea that a fire was raging near the back of the home. Paz tells us she was showering after a canceled chemotherapy appointment. It was her cousin who ran outside to see what Andy was trying to tell them.

"The lady came out on her phone like she didn't know what was happening," said Carrillo.

Thankfully the message spread faster than the fire. Paz and her family were able to escape as Phoenix fire crews rushed on scene. Paz said things could have ended much worse if she had been resting from her chemo therapy. Instead, her cousin, her son and Liz were able to escape.

"If not for him I don't know what would happen. We didn’t know anything was happening inside,” said Paz.

Paz and her family are staying with family and the Red Cross is assisting them. They believe the house will be repaired.