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Alarm Alerts Neighbors, Woman Rescued From Burning Home

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San Andreas, CA – A Calaveras Sheriff’s Deputy and a good Samaritan are being hailed as heroes after risking their lives to save a woman by running into a burning house.

On Monday morning just before nine o’clock, some neighbors could hear an alarm sounding near Lewis Street in San Andreas but could not pinpoint its exact location and called 911. Dispatch, with the help of several callers, was able to narrow it down to the 300 block of Roberts Avenue.

When Deputy Nicholas Riviera arrived on the scene, he saw heavy smoke pouring out of a home. Immediately, he ran around the house checking doors and windows to see if anyone was inside. With no luck, he forced the front door open and started yelling if anyone needed help and heard a woman reply.

Overcome by the heavy smoke, he had to flee the home for fresh air and that is when Michael Schmollinger rushed up and offered to help. Sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. Greg Stark details, “Once they went inside a little deeper into the house, cutting through the heavy smoke, they heard a voice in the back respond to them calling out for her. She was overcome by the smoke inhalation and unable to remove herself from the situation.”

The deputy carried the woman in her mid-sixties out of the home just as the San Andreas Fire Department arrived. They were able to quickly extinguished the fire. Sgt. Stark reports, “The cause of the fire is still under investigation, however, initial indications point to a space heater.”

The woman was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Sgt. Stark praised Schmollinger for his heroics, “Especially for a citizen to step in when they see a deputy or even a fellow citizen in need; to step up to the aid of another is really special.”

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