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Woman called 'hero' after dying in attempt to save toddler killed in Sioux Falls fire

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- A 29-year-old woman who died trying to save a 2-year-old boy from a fire is a hero, Sioux Falls Fire Chief Jim Sideras said Wednesday.

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- A 29-year-old woman who died trying to save a 2-year-old boy from a fire is a hero, Sioux Falls Fire Chief Jim Sideras said Wednesday.

Sulmi Siomara Guerra Sandoval, 29, was taking care of two of her five children and babysitting two others Tuesday morning when fire broke on the first floor of the split-level apartment, Police spokesman Sam Clemens said.

Guerra Sandoval lowered three of the children down to passersby but died trying to rescue 2-year-old Eli Galicia, who also was killed.

The surviving kids all suffered smoke inhalation.

Guerra Sandoval's 4-year-old daughter was taken to a Minneapolis hospital, and her 2-year-old daughter is in stable condition in Sioux Falls. Galicia's 4-year-old brother is in critical condition in a Sioux Falls pediatric intensive care unit.

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"Anybody that puts their life in jeopardy like that is a hero, there's no question about it," Sideras told The Argus Leader.

The two passersby tried to convince Guerra Sandoval to climb out, Clemens said, but she would not.

"One of the guys had hold of the woman's arm and she pulled away from him and went back inside," Clemens said.

The surviving children are staying with their fathers, Clemens said.

Galicia's mother lives in Guatemala, and Sideras said the city is working to get her the necessary paperwork for a return to the U.S.

KELO-TV reported that a fund has been set up for the victims at CorTrust Bank in Sioux Falls or at the Calvary Chapel.

Related Topics: FIRES
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