Mayor Chris Beutler will present the Mayor's medallion tomorrow to Karen Jordan-Anderson and Criz Sanchez who helped residents of an apartment complex escape a December fire. The presentation will take place at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, February 17 at UPS, 3133 N. 33rd Street. Sanchez is a UPS driver, and Jordan-Anderson is a family program manager for the Nebraska Air National Guard.
Sanchez was on his way home from work the evening of December 22nd when he saw flames coming from a second-story balcony at 1510 S. Folsom Street. He called 911 and then ran to the building. Jordan-Anderson was visiting a friend at a nearby building when she saw Sanchez running and heard him yell, "Fire!" The two ran to the building to alert residents and help them evacuate.
After pounding on first-floor doors, Jordan-Anderson went to the second floor, and entered the apartment with the balcony was on fire, where she convinced a woman with developmental disabilities to evacuate. City Fire Inspector Ken Hilger said if Jordan-Anderson had not persuaded the woman to leave, the apartment would soon have filled with fire and smoke and evacuation would have been very difficult. The apartment was a total loss.
Sanchez pulled himself up to a second-story balcony and pounded on the sliding glass doors before heading to the back of the building to escort residents outside. He then ran to the third floor and helped a family including an elderly woman and a child escape.
No one was injured in the fire, which fire investigators say was caused by an improperly discarded cigarette. Damage was estimated at about $150,000.