The blaze broke out in a home in Las Vegas' East Valley neighborhood on Friday morning, where a man was watching his grandchildren, a 10-month-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, News 3 Las Vegas reported.
There, he saw a 3-year-old standing near the security door in a smoke-filled apartment.
The inferno started with food cooking on the stove, a fire department spokesman said.
He escaped from a back bedroom, but couldn't get to the children.
Anival Angulo, 36, who is now homeless, noticed smoke coming from an east Las Vegas apartment building and heard children crying as he was walking by the area just before noon on Friday. It turned out that the security bar door was closed and the dead-bolt was locked. "She could not open the door, so Angulo [started] pulling on the steel door and was able to bend it upward", firefighters said.
"His action certainly saved the children's life", wrote Las Vegas Fire & Rescue in a Facebook post.
Emergency responders rushed to the scene and had the fire under control by 11:48 a.m. Instead, they were taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and are expected to survive.
"The little girl ran to him and wrapped her arms around his waist", a spokesperson for the Las Vegas Fire and Rescue services said. The man is a TRUE HERO.
Two children were taken to University Medical Center for smoke inhalation after a fire at an apartment building in the 2600 block of Mesquite Avenue in central Las Vegas, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. Arriving firefighters found heavy smoke coming from a one-story apartment where the two children were trapped, the department said.
Fire officials called Angulo a hero and praised his quick reactions. "I knew I had to get them out".
"It's obvious if this person hadn't been there, these children could have been burned or may have been killed in the fire", Tim Szymanski, of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, told KSNV. The little girl reportedly told investigators "the pan started on fire and got big really fast with lots of smoke". Firefighters went looking for the children as they battled the blaze.