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Mother, toddler hospitalized after Mesa apartment fire near Alma School Road and University Drive

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Posted at 11:16 AM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 22:46:03-05

MESA, AZ — A woman and a toddler are hospitalized after getting hurt in an apartment fire Wednesday in Mesa.

Crews with the Mesa Fire Department were called to an apartment complex near Alma School Road and University Drive at about 10:30 a.m. for reports of a fire.

Officials say the fire sparked on the 2nd floor and spread to the 3rd floor and was fully involved when firefighters arrived.

Fire crews say this forced a 32-year-old woman to break a window on the second floor to save her 3-year-old nephew.

Both were taken to a hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and are in stable condition.

Tara Shrestha Khadka lives in the unit above where the fire broke out.

“We’re just starting our new life. We have a small baby, so we have lots of dreams in’s all good,” she told ABC15 in tears.

She tells us she is heartbroken, after having to run out of her apartment with her husband and little boy.

“My baby’s all clothes and things are burned. I lost my everything,” Shrestha Khadka added.

Khadka adds the fire grew in seconds, forcing them to run for their lives.

“When our crews arrived they found a great deal of fire, working out of this window. The second-floor window, as well as smoke from other windows,” said Deputy Fire Chief Forrest Smith.

Smith, with the Mesa Fire and Medical Department, says firefighters immediately attacked the flames.

Deputy Chief Smith tells ABC15 they believe the woman had to break the window of where investigators say the fire started, to save herself and her nephew.

“There was actually fire lapping right behind her. She handed her child off to the ground and, she herself had to jump outside the second-floor window,” said Deputy Chief Smith.

Elliot Perez, who lives in the bottom-floor apartment, immediately jumped in to help.

“There was fire coming out of the apartment above me,” he tells ABC15.

Perez said, when he realized what was happening, he quickly busted through the glass to get a fire extinguisher and tried to put off the flames. Though, he adds, the flames spread quickly.

“To have someone just break the glass down, they have to realize their life is in jeopardy,” said Perez.

The Mesa Fire Department says the mother suffered some burns, but both mother and child are expected to be okay.

“We also found that there was a third patient who is also suffering from smoke inhalation who was treated and released,” added Deputy Chief Smith.

At least eight apartments were affected. The Pacifica Apartments and the Red Cross are helping those displaced by the fire.

Shrestha Khadka says she’s just thankful to be alive.

“My husband and my baby is here with me,” she told ABC15.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.