Firefighters Save Worker at Storybook Ranch

Saturday, Jan 5, 2013  |  Updated 8:27 PM CDT
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A man pulled out of his burning apartment atop a non-profit children's charity in Collin County hopes to be able to thank the firefighters who saved his life.

Kendra Lyn, NBC 5 News

A man pulled out of his burning apartment atop a non-profit children's charity in Collin County hopes to be able to thank the firefighters who saved his life.

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Rebuilding Storybook Ranch

Storybook Ranch plans to rebuild after a fire Thursday night gutted the facility that helps adults and children with special needs.

Firefighters Save Worker at McKinney's Storybook Ranch

McKinney firefighters pulled a man out of his burning apartment, atop a non-profit children's charity, in Collin County Thursday night.
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McKinney firefighters pulled a man out of his burning apartment, atop a non-profit children's charity, in Collin County Thursday night.

The fire started at Storybook Ranch on Custer Road at about 9 p.m.

The ranch foreman, Michael Javier, was trapped in his second floor apartment for more than 10 minutes before firefighters pulled him out of a window.

Javier saw the flames spreading though the Wild Bill and Calamity Jane's events and entertainment facility below his apartment, but the fire blocked his escape route. Javier tried to break a window, but couldn’t.

"There’s only one way up, and one way down from that upstairs apartment," said Javier. " It was consumed by fire that had started at the other end of the building.  By the time I smelled the smoke, and was able to make it to the door, the flames and the smoke drove me back into my apartment."

He called 911 and signaled his location to firefighters with a flashlight. Crews broke through the window with an ax and pulled Javier to safety.

"I would like to find the two gentlemen, because they literally saved my life," said Javier.

Javier escaped without injury, but lost everything he owned in the fire.

“Everything that I owned in the world was in my home, and it's all material stuff and eventually it can be replaced, but I'm thankful that I got out," said Javier.

Javier has been the ranch foreman for about three years and lived above the Wild Bill and Calamity Jane's Events and Entertainment Facility.

Storybook Ranch is a non-profit children’s charity which holds community events and horse camps for special needs and underprivileged kids.

 

"They understand our kids here, not everywhere you go do they understand children with special needs," Rene Sinclair, a volunteer said. 

 

Right now, the ranch is assessing just how much damage has been done. 

"We’ll be okay," said program director John Schaar. "We'll  rebuild. We have already had a lot of support from the community.  Our local Home Depot has already been out.  They are bringing out some temporary fence and some temporary needs for us, and some people are already helping."

There's a message on the ranch's website: 

"We will continue to update our beloved guests and friends of the ranch about the damage and our rebuilding efforts. We know that with support from our community and friends, much like the legend of the Phoenix, we will begin again out of the ashes. "

Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire.

Storybook Ranch tells NBC 5 that it'll be closed at least until Monday.  The ranch is working to re-book events that are scheduled in the fire-ragaved building.  Investigators don't expect to have a cause of the fire until next week.

NBC 5's Andres Gutierrez and Kendra Lyn contributed to this story.

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