Mother of five who died in house fire called a hero - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Mother of five who died in house fire called a hero

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We're learning more about Sulmi Guerra Sandoval, the mother of five was babysitting two of her own children and two other kids when a fire broke out on the first floor of a split-level apartment.

Sulmi was able to lower three children out of a window to passersby, but when she went back in to save two-year-old Eli Galicia, she never returned.

Wednesday, KSFY News learned more about her final act of heroism.

They say it's a mother's maternal instinct to protect her kids but Edgar Guerra learned his sister Sulmi died, trying to save someone else's child from a fire.

"She died because she go inside for other kids. She took three kids outside, but she died because she went back for the other kids inside," Guerra said.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue calls Edgar's sister Sulmi Guerra Sandoval, a hero.

Fire Chief Jim Sideras said "when you are taking those kind of sacrifices and knowing that and so without any thought of your own peril, I think you're a hero."

Sulmi was home with her two daughters and two boys she was babysitting. She was able to get three of the four kids out in time.

"She lowered children to somebody, that person said now it's time for you to come out. she said no, there's one child left," Sideras said.

That person is Warren Vick, a passerby on his way to work who saw the smoke and was drawn to the scene. When he heard screaming, he was compelled to help.

"I tried to get her to come out but she wouldn't come out and I asked her if there was some one else in the building and she said yes," Vick said.

Sulmi lost her life trying to save someone else's child.

Both died in the fire.

Fire investigators believe the smoke was just too intense. They believe she was overcome by smoke inhalation when she went back to save the last child.

"To give up your life for someone else's, that's a hero in my book," Vick said.

The three children rescued from the fire remain in the hospital tonight.

Guerra Sandoval's 4-year-old daughter is being treated in Minneapolis.

A fund has been set up to help the families of the two people killed in that fire.

You can donate money at the Cor Trust Bank at 2101 South Minnesota Avenue, and also at the Calvary Chapel at 1605 west 51st Street.

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