SUNNYVALE, CA (KPIX/CNN) – Some tree trimmers jumped into action when two houses caught fire in Sunnyvale, California.
Witnesses say it took only seconds for the flames to grow into a fire ball, burning between Sunnyvale tract homes, catching both on fire and threatening neighbor’s lives.
One neighbor’s cell phone video shows a tree cutting crew in orange shirts running and shouting “fire” into homes.
“It’s not a good feeling, knowing that someone’s inside a house that’s on fire,” Daniel Knutsen from West Coast Arbor said.
Knutsen say they woke at least two people from inside one of the burning homes and rescued a toddler from one of the homes being used as a daycare before firefighters got there.
“We kept pounding, pounding, pounding, and finally they opened the door… I said fire, fire, fire, so we all ran out. Then they said the baby, the baby’s in the house. So then me and the older gentleman ran inside the house and got the baby,” Knutsen said.
Everyone got out ok. But the fire burned wildly for almost two hours engulfing both houses on Lantana Drive.
“Both attics to the lower units you see here were completely involved, there was smoke all the way to the floor with zero visibility,” Batt. Chief Shawn Ahearn, Sunnyvale Public Safety said.
The burning was so intense, firefighters had to back off — for their own good.
“It was getting to the point where it was too dangerous because of roof collapse, so we pulled firefighters out and went to defensive operation,” Batt. Chief Ahearn said.
Neighbors nervously watched the battle unfold.
“It was very scary, and I thought it was going to spread more than four or five houses,” neighbor Gita Pathak said.
The defensive stance worked and the fire was contained to the two original homes. But they were a complete loss.
Also lost – a pet dog, found hours later in an upstairs bedroom of one of the homes. Firefighters say he died of smoke inhalation.