Solinea Stark dazedly stumbled out of her bedroom Saturday morning when a man broke a window at her family’s apartment.
By the time Joseph DellaBella had gotten Stark and her two teenage sons out, she said, the entire second floor of the apartment building was engulfed in flames.
“They clearly had just woken up,” Joseph DellaBella recalled Tuesday.
Before he and his wife, Trisa, noticed the plume of smoke floating in the air, it was just “an ordinary Saturday” for the married off-duty Nevada Highway Patrol troopers, Trisa DellaBella said.
“We were in our Suburban with our kids, no fire equipment, in our gym attire,” Joseph DellaBella said.
But they followed the smoke, and when they found the fire at the Cornerstone Crossing apartments, at 6666 W. Washington Ave., they threw their vehicle in park and “started pounding on doors, waking people up and breaking windows,” he said.
Six adults and 12 children, including Stark’s family, were displaced by the fire. But no one died that day, and no serious injuries were reported.
On Tuesday afternoon outside the Nevada Highway Patrol’s southern command office, the DellaBellas had a reunion with the family they rescued.
Under the warm sun, Stark and her children handed the troopers a card.
It read: “They don’t make cards for when somebody saves your life. And I know now why. It’s because there are no words for that.”
It’s unclear whether the apartment units are equipped with smoke detectors. A call to the apartment’s leasing office was not returned Tuesday.
In March 2017, another large fire consumed a building in the apartment complex.
Nevada Coin Mart has teamed up with the Nevada Highway Patrol to assist the families displaced by the fire. The business is accepting gift card donations on behalf of the families until March 13 at 4065 S. Jones Blvd.