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(Mesa Fire Dept. Photo)
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2 families survive fires in different parts of Phoenix area

(Mesa Fire Dept. Photo)

PHOENIX — Two families in metro Phoenix were counting their blessings after escaping unharmed from fires that destroyed their homes.

A Mesa family of nine was able to escape their home near McKellips and Brown roads early Wednesday after smoke alarms woke them up. One child made it to safety by climbing through a basement window.

A Glendale Fire Department spokesman said two little boys playing with a lighter accidentally set their two-story home near 75th Avenue and Bethany Home Road on fire Tuesday evening.

The boys, 5 and 7, and a mentally challenged man in his early 20s were able to get to safety from a house filled with animals and clutter.

Firefighters rescued 20 dogs, most of them puppies, a lizard and snake.

Crews said the young man ran back into the house several times to save the dogs. Finally, police had to hold him back.

No charges were to be filed against the children.

In Mesa, fire department spokesman Forrest Smith said the split-level home had extensive smoke damage. The fire erupted around 2:30 a.m. in the lower level.

The home was filled with black smoke and flames were visible when firefighters arrived. They managed to keep the blaze from reaching other homes.

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