“Worst thing I’ve been through:” 3 adults, 1 child narrowly escape after vehicle fire spread to duplex

MILWAUKEE -- The Red Cross is assisting three adults and one child following a vehicle fire which spread to a duplex early Sunday morning, August 13th in Milwaukee, some of whom had to jump off a balcony and feel their way out -- making narrow escapes. Two adults and one child had to be taken to the hospital.

Crews were called to the area of 36th and Grant around 4:00 a.m.

Fire officials said the fire started when a vehicle ignited outside of the home, and the fire spread to the building. Police said the driver of that vehicle was arrested on suspicion that driver was drunk at the time.

Vehicle fire spreads to duplex near 36th and Grant

"I woke up and I turned on the light and seen that my room was foggy. Opened up the door and all the black smoke came right in," Lisette Garza said.

Lisette Garza

Garza was trapped on the top floor of the duplex, as fire tore up the back and side.

"I got up and the house was in flames.I looked over and my whole kitchen was in flames. I know I had to get my baby and get out of there. My best friend had to go through the flames to get out," Garza said.

Garza said the raging flames forced her to make split-second decisions. A small window on the roof was the only way to escape.

"I just kind of felt my way through the front window. I got Jojo out first and got myself out," Garza said.

Vehicle fire spreads to duplex near 36th and Grant

She and two others suffered scratches, bruises and smoke inhalation.

"Worst thing I've been through in my life," Garza said.

Garza said she's thankful she somehow woke up. Fire officials said there were no working smoke detectors in the home.

Vehicle fire spreads to duplex near 36th and Grant

"They were there. I assumed they were working. When I first moved in it would beep, but I replaced the batteries, so I knew that everything was up and running and working. I don't know whey they didn't go off," Garza said.

Garza said despite the fact that they were left with just the clothes on their backs, she was simply thankful they were alive.

Vehicle fire spreads to duplex near 36th and Grant

Lisette Garza

"We lost everything, but hey, it's all replaceable. A life isn't. We're here, so I'm grateful. I couldn't have been more blessed," Garza said.

The fire caused about $70,000 in damage to the structure.

What cased the vehicle to catch fire is under investigation.

Vehicle fire spreads to duplex near 36th and Grant

Fire near 36th & Grant

Fire near 35th & Grant