SAN RAMON -- Three California High School students and a 76-year-old man rescued a 94-year-old woman and her adult daughter from a burning home Monday morning, officials said.
Neighbors reported hearing multiple blasts similar to a shotgun firing and then a loud boom from the home at 112 Scarboro Place at about 10:05 a.m.
Neighbor Bob Smith, 76, said he ran to the front door and pushed it open as the three boys entered the fiery backyard to rescue the daughter. Inside, Smith said, the 94-year-old woman was covered in soot and sitting on a chair in the dining room. Unable to carry her out himself, he hollered for the three teenagers, who rushed inside and carried the woman out while she was still seated on the chair, he said. They also dragged out the woman's dog.
"Boy, I'll tell you, it was bad in there," Smith said. "That woman would be dead. Another minute and a half -- I don't think she could have lasted. Those kids are real heroes."
Firefighters extinguished the second-alarm blaze within 45 minutes, said Kimberly French, a spokeswoman for the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District.
The woman was taken to the hospital and later transferred to a burn unit in San Francisco. Her 71-year-old daughter did not appear harmed.
The three teenagers were driving in the neighborhood when they saw smoke and hurried to the home, authorities said. California High Principal Mark Corti confirmed the students attended the school, and said the fire occurred "during school hours."
One of the students was identified by his family as Peter Kravariotis, a 17-year-old senior who is a four-year starter as goalie on the school's varsity lacrosse team. His father, Steve Kravariotis, said his son and the other teenagers were running late getting back to school after a break, when they sprung into action.
"He would give the shirt off his back. It doesn't surprise me what he did today," the elder Kravariotis said. "It was meant to be today for them to be late."
The names of the other two students were not available.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Next-door neighbor Andrea Allen said it sounded like oxygen tanks were exploding.
"The whole backyard looked like it was on fire. I can't believe for how big it looked they were able to contain it," Allen said.
David DeBolt covers breaking news. Contact him in Richmond at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.