By Melissa Garcia

DENVER (CBS4) – A family in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood lost their home after flames broke out in the basement.

The house, on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard just west of Colorado Boulevard, caught fire around 3 p.m. Saturday.

(credit: CBS)

Firefighters’ quick response kept flames from spreading to surrounding homes, but the home where the fire started was a total loss, said the homeowner, who was holding a yard sale out front when the fire started.

“I heard some pop,” said Vernell Ray, who had lived in the home for 44 years.

Vernell Ray (credit: CBS)

Losing her home was far from the 80 year old’s first hardship.

“God is good. I believe in him,” Ray told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “Behind two heart attacks, three heart failures and three strokes. And I know he’s on my side.”

(credit: CBS)

Damen Lee and Tanika West were among witnesses driving by the home when they saw smoke rising up and pulled over to see if they could help.

Witnesses saw that professionals soon had the blaze under control.

(credit: CBS)

“These heroes, they came out here and started breaking glass, attacking the fire,” Lee explained. “They took action real swift. They went in there. And it was amazing to see.”

“From the beginning to the end, it’s crazy. They put the fire out. it re-lit. Flames (went) up two times. It was amazing though. They did a good job,” West said.

According to firefighters, a basement packed tight with belongings made the fight more difficult.

(credit: CBS)

“Due to the advanced fire growth taking 10 minutes to get inside, there was extreme heat conditions in that basement,” said Troy Morelli, a shift commander with the Denver Fire Department. “So we backed everybody out, hit it from the outside to cool it, knowing that there was nobody inside, and we regrouped and went inside and knocked the fire out.”

Saturday evening, fire investigators were working to determine what caused the blaze.

Officials said that the three people displaced were receiving temporary housing assistance from the American Red Cross.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to

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