Tempe couple escapes burning building

Posted at 6:02 PM, Dec 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-31 21:18:51-05

Shelbie Hickey and Brandon Uyehara are about to start a new life as a married couple in Tempe. But after a late night fire, almost everything they own fits into two bags.

"From the moment we saw the glow to the moment we were sitting on the curb it was just one big nightmare," Hickey said.

Hickey and Uyehara were trapped inside of their apartment by a fire that started near the balcony. They said a quick-thinking Phoenix fire dispatcher saved their lives by telling them to run to the bathroom and stuff wet towels under the door.

The wet towels blocked much of the smoke, but the couple said they were still worried they wouldn't make it out alive.

"I knew that it was a race. I knew the fire department was close, but I wasn't sure if the fire was going to get to us first or the firemen," said Uyehara.

Tempe firefighters managed to pull the couple out to safety.

Uyehara and Hickey spent a night in the hospital while being treated for smoke inhalation.

The apartment is considered a total loss, and the couple is scheduled to be married on Jan. 8. They said that despite losing everything the wedding is still a-go.

Friends are in the process of establishing a GoFundMe account.