May 8, 2014 2:02 AM by Sam Salzwedel
TUCSON - A family believes an image of the Virgin Mary was burned in their window after a house fire.
On April 29, the Gutierrez family lost a home on Tennessee Street near Irvington Road and 12th Avenue.
When the sun came up, the screen on a front window had warped into what they believe is an image of the Virgin Mary.
"We definitely had a higher power looking after us," Crystal Gutierrez said. "I do believe it was a sign."
An SUV caught fire in their carport in the middle of the night. Its horn woke the family up. Crystal Gutierrez, her mother, 3 children and 3 dogs escaped through the front door. The bedrooms have bars on the windows, so minutes later, getting out might have been impossible.
"It was ridiculous, the fire, how quick it starts burning everything," Gutierrez said. "It was horrifying."
News 4 Tucson showed the image to people Downtown Wednesday. Some were skeptical.
"Kind of something in a window," Dave Leo said as he looked at a picture. "I'm not buying it. Nope. No."
Sally Donahue did not write off the idea, but was not entirely impressed by the picture.
"Oh. Wow. OK. That's getting to almost, looks like a Disney princess now," she said. "But it does look more and more like [the Virgin Mary]."
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson emailed a response to the picture.
"We feel very badly for the homeowners and hope that anyone in the home is safe," a spokesperson wrote. "While there does seem to be an image of Mary in the photograph, there is no reason to believe that this is anything other than the result of the fire."
Miracle or not, the family is overwhelmed with the support they have received from the community.
"A lot of people have come through for us. Donating stuff. Helping us out in any way they can, which we appreciate so, so much," Gutierrez said. "There are not enough words to thank everybody and tell everybody, ‘Thank you. I appreciate it.'"