Crime - Sacto 911

Father credited with saving four children in south Sacramento blaze

A south Sacramento father was hailed as a hero by firefighters and family members after rescuing four young children from his burning townhouse early Thursday.

Deon Hill made several trips into and out of the burning residence to carry the children, ages 4 and younger, to safety after he was alerted to the fire by smoke alarms shortly after 1 a.m.

Hill was in the intensive care unit at UC Davis Medical Center, where he being treated for smoke inhalation Thursday afternoon, said family spokesman Willie Caston. Caston said Hill’s 4-year-old daughter was being treated for second-degree burns and smoke inhalation at Shriners Hospitals for Children Northern California.

Caston said the children’s mother was at work and Hill was home alone with the youngsters.

“We’re all very proud of him,” Caston said.

Had it not been for Hill’s actions, the children likely would have perished in the fire, said Battalion Chief Rusty Van Vuren of the Sacramento Fire Department.

“It was a unanimous vote from firefighters on the scene that that father performed some pretty heroic acts in getting the kids out of there,” Van Vuren said.

The Fire Department received several 911 calls around 1:15 a.m. reporting a fire on Creeks Edge Way in the Parkway neighborhood near Franklin Boulevard and Brookfield Drive.

When the first fire crew arrived, the townhouse was aflame.

“They found fire and heavy smoke coming from every opening,” Van Vuren said.

Firefighters, who learned that a family of six lived inside, searched the interior of the home to make sure everyone had gotten out.

Caston said Hill got the three youngest children, who were downstairs, out first. He then returned to rescue the 4-year-old, who was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom.

Van Vuren said the townhouse was considered a total loss, but fire crews contained the fire to the one unit. He said an occupied unit on one side and a vacant unit for rent on the other suffered only minor damage and were deemed habitable.

The gated complex of neat townhouses with brick and wood exteriors was quiet Thursday afternoon. Several nearby residents said they didn’t learn of the fire until later in the day. There were a couple of holes in the scorched wood siding on the second floor of the damaged unit. Plywood covered the windows and doors, and the front of the townhouse was cordoned off with chain-link fencing. The sounds of a television could be heard a few doors away.

Caston said Hill’s father was meeting Thursday afternoon with Red Cross representatives, who were assisting the family with accommodations.

Van Vuren said investigators believe the fire originated in the kitchen and may have been cooking-related.

He said one firefighter, the first nozzleman on scene, was treated at Kaiser South Medical Center after suffering from heat and exhaustion. He was subsequently released.