Highland, CA– On Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 11:37 p.m., Highland deputies received a call to assist the fire department for a residential fire. The reporting party said that one of the residents was in a wheelchair still trapped inside along with two children.
Detective Al Huff and Deputy Pete Gentry arrived before firefighters and found several severely burned and injured victims in the front yard. The man in the wheelchair had already been rescued by two neighbors, John and Christopher Shuris, but at least one child was still trapped inside.
A woman was screaming frantically to the deputies to save her little girl. Detective Al Huff ran into the residence to find the child.
At the same time, the woman brought Deputy Gentry to a window where a little girl was seen crying and trapped inside. Gentry broke the window and pulled the child to safety.
Detective Huff was overcome by the smoke and heat and was unable to search the residence. After the little girl was rescued from the window they realized that all victims were accounted for.
The fire department arrived on scene and put out the fire. The preliminary cause of the fire was a malfunctining electrical device.
Several of the family members, including the neighbors who helped rescue them, were transported to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center for treatment of burns and smoke inhalation. Two of the deputies received minor injuries but did not need medical treatment.
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