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MESQUITE There are few things that would make Antonio Deal sit outside in his pajamas in 39-degree weather, but he said his neighbor's fire was one of them.

'I was scared as hell,' Deal said while puffing on a cigarette. 'I couldn't believe it. It's something you see on TV... I didn't think it was real.'

Deal lives in a tight-knit Mesquite community. The homes in the 1300 block of Hackamore Street sit just inches apart.

Landlord Susan Dixon said her tenant began smelling smoke just after 6 a.m. Sunday.

'We got broken windows, gutters, a little side damage, but nothing compared to the home that got burnt up, thank God!' Dixon said.

Neighbors confirm Mesquite firefighters banged on doors and evacuated surrounding homes.

Deal said their fear was real. Flames shot 20 feet in the air and the smoke and heat was intense.

One neighbor who did not want to be identified said he's still trying to air out smoke from his home, and added his seven-month-old baby is struggling to breathe.

Antonio Deal's truck is covered in soot and ash. 'It smells like my car was on fire,' he said.

Susan Dixon applauds the Mesquite Fire Department. She said their quick response not only saved lives, but surrounding homes as well. And although her neighbor's home is destroyed, she's grateful the owners escaped without injury.

'It could have spread easily due to the way it happened, so I'm very proud of Mesquite', Dixon said.

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com

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