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Employee Describes Escape From Burning Business

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Joe Montoya was burned in a fire. (credit: CBS)

Joe Montoya was burned in a fire. (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4)- Joe Montoya works at a pet grooming store that went up in flames on Tuesday night. He says if it weren’t for his son’s intuition he would have died in the fire.

The fire broke out at Bill’s Clips and Collars in the 2100 block of South Albion Street. Investigators are working to determine what sparked that fire.

Montoya was sound asleep inside the building when the fire started. He works at the pet grooming shop and has lived in the back since losing his home to foreclosure a few months ago.

“I love my son to death. If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” said Montoya.

Montoya’s son Donovan hadn’t heard from his father on Tuesday and decided to check on him. When Donovan arrived he found the shop engulfed in flames. He spotted his father’s vehicle and convinced firefighters to check inside.

“They said, ‘Alright we’ll look one more time.’ From my understanding they went back to the room that was on fire. They pulled the blankets off that were on fire and found me under the sheets passed out from the smoke inhalation,” said Montoya. “And the next thing I woke up in the hospital.”

Bill Vorbeck owns the business. He believes the fire was sparked by faulty wiring in the kitchen. The fire was confined to the back room where Montoya was staying.

“Sad to say it was an accident that nearly cost my friend his life,” said Vorbeck.

Montoya suffered burns to his arms. He lost all his belongings in the fire and his two dogs were killed after they refused to leave his side.

Montoya said the fire is a good reminder to take advantage of each day,”I was getting kind of down. I’m getting up in age. Now I just feel there’s a lot more air in the world and I want to take the world by the handle.”

Montoya also lost the money he had been saving for a deposit on a new home.

Those who would like to help Vorbeck and Montoya with donations can visit BillsClipsAndCollars.com, or visit the store at 2920 w 32nd Ave #208 Denver 80211. The phone number is (720) 629-4808.

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