By Shelley Grieshop
Seven Celina residents got a rude awakening this morning when their apartment filled with smoke just after dawn.
The occupants of the two-story home at 114 West Anthony Street escaped without injury -- several of them in their pajamas -- as smoke began pouring from the upstairs attic.
"I wouldn't have even known it except this guy came by," said Aaron Truesdale, who lives in the downstairs apartment with his mother and brother. "I was just getting out of the shower and dressed when he came to the door and said, 'Hey, your house is on fire.' "
The group said they didn't know the man who saved them from harm and then disappeared. Truesdale woke his mother, Emily Truesdale, and brother, Travis Truesdale. The trio exited the home after discovering the upstairs renters were on their way out, also.
"We were all asleep," said Amber Fields, who leases the upstairs area with three friends.
Fields said she smelled smoke and woke the others before heading down the stairs.
Smoke billowed from the upstairs attic on the north side of the gray, vinyl-sided home as Celina firefighters arrived. With the help of a bucket truck, a firefighter used a chainsaw to cut a hole in the roof to access the burning area.
"I can't believe this," Fields said shaking her head. "All my stuff is in there."
The residents took refuge near the intersection of North Main Street looking grim as firefighters threw charred remnants from the upstairs window. The renters speculated an electrical problem was to blame.
Celina Fire officials remained at the scene at press time today and were unavailable for comment on the fire.