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Teens’ quick action helps save home from severe fire damage

By Staff | Dec 21, 2010

When cousins Daniel Quijada and Lazaro Pena discovered a fire Tuesday on a neighbor’s back porch, the two teens quickly sprang into action.
Quijada, 17, and Pena, 18, were playing soccer outside of Quijada’s residence, located at 2218 N.E. 15th Terrace, when they smelled something burning.
“I smelled burned rubber, really strong,” Quijada said.
Following the smell, the teens found that a large fish tank was on fire on the lanai of the home at 2215 N.E. 15th St. Quijada said the porch was filled with “a lot of smoke and flames,” and he and Pena shouted out for the residents.
No one was home at the time of the fire.
After discovering the porch door was locked, the two grabbed a water hose and sprayed the fire through the screen. Quijada told his mother to call 911.
Cape dispatch received the 911 call at about 11:34 a.m., officials reported.
“There was a big fish tank that was on fire,” Quijada said. “The rubber on the top was melting because of the flames and the wall was on fire too.”
Nearby Christmas lights on the porch also were on fire.
“We managed to keep it down until the fire rescue got here,” Quijada said.
According to officials, firefighters were able to extinguish the fire within 10 minutes and kept the fire damage to a minimum. The fire was determined to have been started by a rug placed on top of fish tank light and water pump.
“This fire will be ruled accidental in nature,” Battalion Chief Alan Carter of the Cape Coral Fire Department said.
While the fish tank was cooling down, it shattered. Fire crews located an empty trash can to put the fish in, and filled it with water from the hose. According to the CCFD fire report, the estimated property loss is $500.
“The firefighters said we saved Christmas and the house,” Pena said.
There also was a dog inside the home at the time of the incident.
Neither of the teens had second thoughts about putting the flames out.
“After I saw it, my thought was, ‘Get water and throw water on the fire,” Pena said. “We were, like, pumped up cause we were trying to help.”
“I wasn’t thinking, I just went into action,” Quijada said. “I tried to help.”
The residents returned home about 30 minutes later and thanked the teens.
“They came to our house,” Quijada said. “They were nice.”
The residents of the home could not be reached for comment.