City Workers Happen Upon Apartment Fire, Rescue Couple

They were making their rounds at what turned out to be just the right time. Two Tyler Solid Waste workers began to smell smoke while loading trash in a neighborhood around Noon Monday.

Their actions are credited with saving the lives of a man and woman sleeping inside a garage apartment in the 800 block of Robertson.

"Before we made the corner on Robertson, I smelled the smoke and it didn't smell like the regular smoke," said Robert Dominguez, who knew he wasn't smelling a chimney fire on a day like this.

"It smelled like house burning," he says.

Dominguez and co-worker Jimmy White didn't have to go far.

"I saw the corner of the apartments were on fire. I just hollered to see if anyone would come out, if anyone was there," Dominguez says.

It was almost high noon, and Robert didn't think there was any chance someone would be home. Still, he rushed to find out.

"I started saying hey, is anyone in there? Is anyone in there? and it looked like they were asleep," he says.

A man and woman got out just in time, Cindy Sauseda was next door.

"[The occupant] and his girlfriend jumped off the balcony to get out because the fire was already spreading that way. The electrical lines started pulling down," she says.

The garage apartment is a loss, but no one was hurt, not the residents or the firefighters. And for Dominguez and White, they simply went back on their way.

For their job must get done too, though they're a bit surprised at the attention.

"I did what anybody else would have done. I'm just glad noone got hurt," Dominguez says.

Fire investigators are looking for a cause. A small gas leak at the location kept them from beginning their work until late this afternoon, but they're hopeful to have a cause sometime tonight.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.