Contractor rescues woman from fire

A contractor rescued a woman from the balcony of her burning west Santa Rosa apartment Friday afternoon, a Santa Rosa Fire Department battalion chief said.

Two children who lived in an adjoining apartment at 2305 McBride Ave. suffered smoke inhalation and were taken by ambulance to a hospital, Battalion Chief Jack Piccinini said.

An unattended candle is suspected as the cause of the two-alarm 1:20 p.m. blaze, Piccinni said. The contractor, 54-year-old Carlos Gonzalez, was working in the backyard of a home next to the Twin Tree apartment building when the building’s fire alarm sounded, Piccinini said.

Gonzalez saw Kaela Arowcavage on the balcony of the burning apartment and used his ladder to help her to safety, Piccinini said. Arowcavage’s apartment was fully involved in flames that were spreading into a common attic over multiple apartments when firefighters arrived, Piccinini said.

Arowcavage was treated at the scene for minor burns and smoke inhalation. Firefighters checked for occupants in adjoining apartments and found Karina Espinoza and her two infant children.

They were evacuated, treated for smoke inhalation and taken to the hospital, Piccinini said. Firefighters cut holes in the apartment building roof to ventilate gases and keep the fire from spreading in the attic.

The blaze was under control in 30 minutes and fire damage was confined to one apartment. Damage is estimated at $150,000. Cal Fire and the Rincon Valley Fire Department also responded to the fire in the Coddingtown area of Santa Rosa.