Residents lucky to be alive after intense apartment fire

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There were tense moments as a couple inside a Tempe apartment complex were trapped inside their home. The man and woman were rushed to an area hospital because of smoke inhalation.

The fire happened near McClintock and Apache around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday.

The two occupants locked themselves in a bathroom when they realized there was no way out.

"I was just asleep, I just heard someone knocking loudly, I came out and there was fire everywhere."

Fumanta Das didn't have time to grab any belongings when a fire burning in the apartment above forced him and his roommate out of their own unit.

"It was pretty high, I never seen fire like that in my life," Das' roommate said.

The fire was so intense that the glass patio on the second floor balcony was blown out. When crews arrived, flames were shooting out into the early-morning sky, trapping residents inside.

"They had said the fire actually cut off their means to egress, so they were in bedroom trying to make a way out," Tempe Fire Assistant Chief Hans Silberchlag said. "Their access to the front door was actually blocked by fire."

Once in the bathroom, the residents called 911, staying on the phone with the operator and banging on the walls as fire fighters made their way to them, taking every precaution to stay alive.

"They were able to take some towels, roll them up, stuff them at the base of the door," Silberchlag said. "That helped save their lives."

Both residents were treated on scene and then taken to the hospital. With the apartment upstairs a loss, Das is counting his blessings, grateful both he and the neighbors made it out safely.

The firefighters were also able to rescue pet cats from the blaze.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.