Northwest Fire District responded to a fire at 7:35 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17, that heavily damaged a Continental Reserve home.

When firefighters arrived, they found the garage, with a vehicle inside, engulfed in flames. The fire was under control within about 20 minutes, Northwest officials said. Damage is estimated at $50,000. One Northwest firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation, then released from Northwest Medical Center.

Neighbors and witnesses told investigators they heard a "loud boom," then alerted resident Christi Cotlow, 33, who lives in the house with her 10-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son. All of them, and their dog, escaped without injury.

Cotlow came home from grocery shopping at about 5 p.m. A couple hours later, she was in the back of the house helping her daughter with her homework when her neighbors warned her of the fire.

"All of a sudden I hear all this banging on all my windows and someone trying to open my door," Cotlow said Wednesday morning. "I thought it was a home invasion, I didn't know what was going on."

She peeked out the door to see her neighbor yelling at her to "get out, get out, there is a fire." By the time she gathered her kids to head out the door, her vehicle's gas tank was exploding, Cotlow said.

"Back where my bedroom is, it is like the opposite end of the garage," Cotlow said. "We didn't hear anything. And if our neighbors would not have come and got us out, we would have been stuck in that house, no doubt about it."

Cotlow said her clothes were lost in the fire. People who would like to donate food or clothes may call 358-8410.

Detectives from the Marana Police Department, and arson detectives from the Pima County Sheriff's Department, joined investigators from Northwest Fire in a continuing probe.

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