Welcome to the APBWeb.
Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1
    213th's Avatar
    213th is offline Solipsist
    Join Date
    64.3 N 149.1 W
    Rep Power

    Unhappy Saves brother, dies in fire

    An 18-year-old killed in an early morning fire Sunday was trapped in a bedroom after he made sure two 13-year-olds escaped the burning house safely, his mother said.
    Click to enlarge
    Justin Vera, 18, stayed behind to try to rescue three dogs.
    Story tools

    Justin Vera was one of three people inside a two-story Fairview home when fire broke out on the second floor, where the three teens were sleeping, around 6 a.m.
    "My son died trying to save his brother and his friend and three dogs," a tearful Martha Castro said after meeting with Anchorage Fire Department inspectors Sunday afternoon at her Fairview home.
    Two of the three dogs died. Vera's brother, Brandon Castro, suffered minor burns on an arm. The other teen was not injured.
    The boys told Anchorage Fire Department investigators that after Vera knew they had escaped from the house, he tried to find three small dogs that were hiding as the second floor burned.
    Vera was trapped in a back bedroom, fire department spokeswoman Jennifer Klugh said.
    Rescuers reached him by ladder through a window and carried him out the front door and down a set of outdoor steps. Vera was pronounced dead at Alaska Regional Hospital.
    Vera, who played junior varsity football a year ago at West High as a junior but left school before his senior year, ordinarily lived in a different part of the house at 1211 E. 11th, Klugh said.
    The home is made up of two connecting structures.
    In the front is a long, low one-story house with an A-frame entry. Vera lived there with his grandparents and another boy. In the back is a two-story house with a long flight of steps leading to the second-floor entry. Martha Castro, Brandon Castro, his sister and a fourth person live there, Klugh said.
    The fire was contained to the second floor of the structure in the back.
    On almost any other night, Vera would have been sleeping in the one-story building up front, which sustained no fire or smoke damage.
    But his mother was out of town for the weekend, so Vera spent Saturday night in the back structure so he could watch Brandon and a friend, who was not identified.
    "My son was a good kid," Martha Castro said. "He told me, 'Go, Mommy, go on a vacation. I know you need the rest. Everything will be OK.'
    "I got stuck in Fairbanks last night and I called him and he said don't worry, everything will be OK."
    Klugh said the 13-year-old boys told fire investigators they heard popping sounds around 6 a.m. They said they woke up Vera, who was sleeping in a back bedroom.
    Vera called 911 from the burning house and so did one of the 13-year-olds, Klugh said. The two younger boys escaped -- possibly by jumping out a window, though fire investigators couldn't confirm that -- and ran to a neighbor's house, where they called 911 again.
    "The older boy was trying to save the dogs," Klugh said.
    The first of 11 units arrived five minutes after the first call. In all, 22 units responded, and the fire was contained in 26 minutes, Klugh said. Anchorage Police Department officers also responded.
    She said the cause of the fire was still being determined Sunday afternoon and that it looked unintentional. It caused an estimated $50,000 in damage, she said.
    Vera is at least the fifth person killed in house fires in Anchorage this year.
    Three little boys were killed by an Eagle River fire in January, and a 6-year-old boy was killed in a Fort Richardson fire in April.
    He who has the money, signs the cheques.
    He who signs the cheques, makes the rules.
    He who makes the rules, has the power.
    He who has the power, has the money.

  2. #2
    Star Man's Avatar
    Star Man is offline Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians
    Verified LEO
    Join Date
    Rep Power
    Sad story. The kid was a brave soul.



Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts