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Neighbors help rescue people from burning apartment building in Altoona, Iowa


Concerned and courageous neighbors ran into a burning apartment building in Altoona Tuesday night to make sure everyone woke up in time to escape. At least three people in the building next door spotted the fire on a second-story balcony. Then instincts took over. They ran in to knock on the doors of the 24 units in the building. “No one really knew what was going on, so once people started answering the doors we started telling them that there’s an actual fire on the second floor,” Taylor Bullington said.Jeramie Ziegler said he noticed the fire because he likes thunderstorms and was waiting for the weather system to move into the area.”It was more of a natural instinct,” Ziegler said of the decision to alert people in the building. “I wasn’t trying to be no hero or nothing.”Some of those who heeded the warning credit their neighbors with saving them from a potentially dangerous situation. “I would say they’re heroic, and they didn’t think of themselves,” said Emily Mendoza, who had been asleep with her four children. “They thought of all of us in the building who were probably asleep and wouldn’t have gotten out in time.”The majority of the building had cleared out by the time firefighters arrived, and no one was hurt. The residents also praised the Altoona Fire Department for the quick response in knocking down the fire. “I’m happy that they’re safe and sound,” Ziegler said.

Concerned and courageous neighbors ran into a burning apartment building in Altoona Tuesday night to make sure everyone woke up in time to escape.

At least three people in the building next door spotted the fire on a second-story balcony. Then instincts took over.

They ran in to knock on the doors of the 24 units in the building.

“No one really knew what was going on, so once people started answering the doors we started telling them that there’s an actual fire on the second floor,” Taylor Bullington said.

Jeramie Ziegler said he noticed the fire because he likes thunderstorms and was waiting for the weather system to move into the area.

“It was more of a natural instinct,” Ziegler said of the decision to alert people in the building. “I wasn’t trying to be no hero or nothing.”

Some of those who heeded the warning credit their neighbors with saving them from a potentially dangerous situation.

“I would say they’re heroic, and they didn’t think of themselves,” said Emily Mendoza, who had been asleep with her four children. “They thought of all of us in the building who were probably asleep and wouldn’t have gotten out in time.”

The majority of the building had cleared out by the time firefighters arrived, and no one was hurt.

The residents also praised the Altoona Fire Department for the quick response in knocking down the fire.

“I’m happy that they’re safe and sound,” Ziegler said.

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