Pasadena Firefighters, Bringing Santa and Gifts, Deliver Christmas to Family Made Homeless by Fire, as Dog They Saved Recovers

Published : Monday, December 25, 2017 | 6:42 AM

Image courtesy Pasadena Fire Department

In a heartwarming development in the disastrous Christmas tale of a Mom and her two children whose residence was heavily damaged by fire Friday and whose dog “Lucky” was resuscitated by Pasadena firefighters, the community and a local business led by the same firefighters brought Christmas presents, pet food and even Santa Claus to the victims on Sunday.

The siren-blaring, two-fire-engine procession bearing gifts pulled up to the realtive’s home where the family is now staying with a firefighter’s father performing a second role as Father Christmas.

“Fire personnel really wanted to do something,” said Pasadena Fire Dept. spokesperson Lisa Derderian.

The Friday afternoon house fire left the family homeless.

Authorities said an unattended burning candle ignited a blaze about 1:30 p.m. in the bungalow apartment in the 400 block of North Hill Avenue where Areceli Garcia lived with her two children, Chris Garcia, 12, and Katherine Portillo, 14.

Responding firefighters were told that although the family was not at home, but their dog, named Lucky, was trapped inside.

Firefighters quickly located and knocked down the blaze and rescued the pooch, overcome by smoke inhalation and unconscious.

“Lucky suffered smoke inhalation from the fire and was rendered aid by fire personnel using a specialized mask that we have [that was] given to us through a grant from the Pasadena Humane Society,” Derderian said. “We have saved pets as a result, including Lucky.”

Lucky was checked out at the scene by Pasadena Humane Society and will apparently be fine, but is still recovering.

Derderian said that the firefighters, some of whom themselves have small children at  home, pitched in with community support to put together a delivery of Christmas presents to the devastated family.

One business, Pet Food Express on North Lake Avenue, donated food and other items for Lucky after firefighters went in to buy the supplies for the him.

“We went in to purchase items for the family, but when they heard what had happened … they wanted to also make a donation,” Derderian said.

The firefighters also gave the family a $100 California Fire Foundation SAVE card for victims of fires.

The delivery was emotional, Derderian said.

“The family was very, very appreciative,” she said, commenting upon how the boy bonded with the firefighters.

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