When Ruby Acosta awoke Friday morning, she smelled smoke. The apartment below hers was engulfed in flames. Opening the door only let heavy smoke in.
"I thought we were gonna die," she said. "I was scared."
She knew she had to get out, but the smoke was too thick to go out the front. She ran to her bedroom.
"I wanted to jump out, but then I thought about my kids," she said.
Her five children, ages 3 to 15 years old, were asleep, along with her two grandkids.
"I was scared at the time," said daughter Jessica Montalvo. "I don't know. I was thinking we were going to get on fire or we were gonna get burned up or something."
Acosta and her husband yanked the kids from bed and began tying sheets together to lower them out the second story window. They lowered their 3-year-old to safety. A neighbor saw this and brought a ladder over to help get the rest out, one by one.
He's a neighbor Acosta and her family had never met before, a stranger they now consider a hero.
Fire investigators can't say yet what caused the fire in the apartment on the first floor. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
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