An Arizona grandmother saved the lives of a family of six who were asleep when a fire broke out in their home.
Carolyn Palisch, a 63-year-old former nurse, sprinted to her neighbor’s house early on New Year’s Day after she saw smoke coming from the property in Avondale, according to ABC15.
David and Nicole Salgado and their four children were all asleep inside, the broadcaster reported.
The family managed to escape, but they lost their home, their car and possessions in the fire.
Nicole shared footage from their doorbell camera on TikTok, which shows Palisch ringing the bell and banging on the door. The caption on the clip, which has been liked almost 7 million times, reads: “We are so thankful to just be alive.”
A message on the GoFundMe page set up to help the family said: “Thank God everyone was able to get out safely, but unfortunately they have lost everything. David and Nicole along with their 4 children will have to start fresh.”
In another message, the family said: “We are doing OK. The kids are of course a little traumatized but they are resilient and strong kids. We lost our home, our only car was totaled in the fire, and most of our property was damaged, but we have our lives and for that we have to thank Carol!
“Everything can be replaced but our lives couldn’t be and everyday we wake up feeling nothing but thankful! Thank you to every single one of you. We’re starting from scratch but we will be OK!”
Palisch told ABC that she had got up early and was drinking coffee in her robe when she looked through her window and spotted smoke billowing from her neighbor’s roof.
She told the broadcaster: “It didn’t look normal, and I thought to myself, ‘They don’t have a fireplace.'”
Palisch ran to her neighbor’s house and began banging on the door and window and ringing the doorbell.
She said: “I just knew I had to get them out and get them up. That was my goal.
“I didn’t want to yell fire because I didn’t want to scare the kids. Because if you yell fire then they might scatter or go looking for possessions. Finally David opened the door and I very calmly said, ‘You need to get out. Your house is on fire.'”
Nicole and David managed to get their four children, who are all under the age of 12, out safely.
Nicole told ABC: “Immediately I grabbed my son. I told my older girls, ‘Come on, let’s go!’ And we ran out. Then I came back in, after I gave the kids to Carolyn, I came back in to get the pets—two dogs and a bearded dragon.”
She added that Palisch had arrived just in time. “The firefighters and cops told us if it would’ve been a couple minutes longer and no one would have noticed, then when the roof caved in, all that smoke would’ve come in and we would’ve all inhaled it and we wouldn’t have woken up from that or been able to get out,” Nicole said.
The neighbors had reportedly known each other casually but the Salgado family said they now call Palisch their guardian angel.
Nicole said: “She knows she has family now. We are going to forever be grateful to her.”
The GoFundMe page has so far raised more than $33,000.
Nicole wrote on the page: “We can’t express how grateful we are to every single one of you. We have been touched by everyone’s love and support, not only the donations but also all of you kind strangers that just want to know how we are.”
Newsweek has contacted the Avondale Fire Department for comment.