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Stranger pulls woman out of burning house in Pueblo

PUEBLO, Colo. — For the second time in a week, cigarettes and oxygen sparked a house fire in Pueblo.

Last Tuesday, a blaze sparked by a cigarette and fueled by an oxygen tank killed four people in one Pueblo home. On Saturday, the combination nearly proved deadly for 86-year-old Betty Hocking.

A stranger who spotted smoke pouring out of Hocking’s home in west Pueblo managed to pull her to safety.

“When I turned the corner to go to my daughter’s house, I saw fire on the wall, on the inside, through the window, and I just slammed my car into park and I just ran in,” said Katrina Hays.

“I’m screaming is anybody in there and she said I’m right here, I’m right here and I put my arm out and she grabbed it and I was helping her out, I was pulling her out,” Hays said.

Hays told FOX 31 as soon as she got Hocking out of the house, the oxygen tank exploded inside. She said both of the Pueblo fires offer a valuable lesson.

“Everybody says oh it’s never going to happen to me, it’s never going to happen to me and it’s happened twice already,” Hays said. “It’s the same problem, smoking around oxygen. I hope people learn.”

Hocking suffered slight burns and smoke inhalation, and she was treated and later released from a Pueblo hospital.