SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Investigators spent Tuesday evening trying to determine what sparked a fire that ripped through a mobile home killing three people including two children in San Jose.
Family members on Wednesday morning identified one of the victims as 10-year-old Linda.
The fire happened around 12:30 p.m. at the Golden Wheel Mobile Home Park off Oakland Road.
As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, fire officials were on scene monitoring for hot spots, collecting evidence and boarding up the home. Due to the level of incineration, investigators had to go through the home inch by inch. The mobile home is destroyed and the community is devastated.
Around 7 p.m., investigators equipped with dogs to sniff for human remains made the difficult discovery of a third victim. One of two children who died after the mobile home caught fire. Denise Farkas lives behind the home and witnessed the chaos unfold when the flames broke out.
“I came out my front door,” said Neighbor Denise Farkas. “I looked in the back. The flames were coming out all the windows of course I was in panic. I went back there. Other neighbors were trying to bust in the door, throwing rocks, yelling is anyone in there.”
Cell phone video captures the huge flames that engulfed the home at the Golden Mobile Home Park in San Jose. Firefighters responded within 10 minutes yet when they arrived, the front of the house was completely burned to the ground. Initially they found, an adult believed to be a grandfather and a child inside. After an extensive search, the remains of a second child was found six hours later. Both of the children are said to be grade school age.
“I’m heartbroken,” said Farkas. “I can't believe it.”
“We had a report from one neighbor who said they saw the adult who I believe was the grandfather getting engulfed in flames and then collapsed on the ground and the mobile home exploded in flames,” said Capt. Mike Van Elgort of San Jose Fire.
Fire officials said the fire likely started in the front of the house. The cause is still under investigation. The fire was not an easy one to fight since mobile homes are lightweight and the wood paneling burns quickly
“We don't know if there was an accidental accelerant such as cooking gas or something of that nature that accelerated the fire but it did burn very quick,” said Capt. Van Elgort.
Fire officials are crediting neighbors for doing what they could. Alex Torres said the home looked like an inferno and tried to put out the flames with a hose.
“You know how residents are we stick together a fire is a fire but we all had to put our two cents and fight it,” said Neighbor Alex Torres.
Neighbors said the family who lives there is Vietnamese. The children are often seen playing. Family members were visibly distraught comforting one another.
“I don't know what they are going to do now, the ones that are left,” said Farkas. “They have no place, no home. It was so quick, the fire was so quick.”
The American Red Cross is assisting surviving family members with grief support. Neighbors say the parents of the children and a grandmother lives there. The identities of the family members have not yet been released at this time. The fire threatened two other homes on either side but those homes were saved.