Two San Marcos Electric Utility linemen’s quick action and cool heads helped save an apartment complex from a potentially costly fire Wednesday.
Lineman Joe Perez and lineman apprentice Juan Gonzalez noticed smoke coming from a second-story balcony at the Cedars Apartments at 1101 Leah Ave. as they were driving a city bucket truck to a job site just after 9 a.m.
“We were just driving by and happened to look across the street,” Perez said. “I told Juan, ‘Let’s go back.”
Perez and Gonzalez called the fire in over their radio and told maintenance workers at the apartment about the fire. The apartment staff began attacking it with fire extinguishers, but they needed help fast.
“I figured it might be a while before the firefighters could get to the fire, so I went up there,” Perez said.
Perez elevated himself in the bucket to the fire and dumped water from a 5-gallon container onto the growing blaze. When he ran out of water, he rode back down and picked up more from Gonzalez, who was busy filling containers with more water.
San Marcos Fire Department Battalion Chief Jim Matano said that a discarded cigarette landed on the wooden balcony railing and caused the fire.
“Those guys caught it quick,” Matano said. “They did a good job. The fire was just about extinguished when we got there.”Email | Print