In the wake of a deadly house explosion in Firestone, CO, the families of the victims are trying to focus on the heroes as the community rallies to provide support.

Erin and Mark Martinez and their two children lived in the recently constructed home on Twilight Ave. The house was located 170 feet from a vertical well operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.

On April 17,  Erin’s brother, Joseph (Joey) William Irwin III – a plumber with 20 years of experience and a reputation for his attention to detail, came to help Mark work on a hot water heater in the basement. When the explosion occurred, both men were killed. Erin was pinned beneath the rubble as a massive fire raged through the remnants of the home. Witnesses told local media that the fire was so intense the house was completely destroyed within 15 minutes.

Members of a construction crew working nearby rushed to the scene where they encountered a crying child who told them his mother, father and uncle were inside the house. The crew got a forklift, lifted a portion of the collapsed house and pulled Erin out. Badly burned, she was airlifted to a trauma center where she remains in critical condition.

The community has rallied to help the Irwin and Martinez families – a GoFundMe page has raised more than $100,000. Brett Irwin, Erin and Joey’s brother, told the Daily Camera that the support of the community is holding the family up as they try to stay strong for Erin and her children.

The families have expressed profound gratitude to the community and to brave men who rescued Erin, holding a private dinner at Peel Handcrafted Pizza in Frederick to honor them. Cesar Ramirez owns the construction company. His son, Jose Lopez, drove the forklift.

“The number one thing I want to tell everyone is we need to focus on the heroes that saved my sister’s life,” Irwin told the Daily Camera. “They ran into the flames. At any time, another explosion could go. They’re heroes. If it wasn’t for them, my nephew and niece wouldn’t have a mother. That’s everything. It’s a miracle.”

House Fire

“I know you would do the same thing for my family,” Ramirez replied.