Fire destroys mobile clinic that helps homeless in San Jose

A non-profit in San Jose says their mobile healthcare clinic went up in flames Sunday. Now they're scrambling to replace the RV that allowed them to help the homeless.

There is not much left of Gardner Family Health's mobile clinic. Sunday, fire charred the outside.
Smoke and water damaged the expensive medical equipment inside.

Jorge Payan of Gardner Family Health says, "I mean we're kinda giving back to the community with this mobile unit that goes around to different sites and helps out people who are not insured. And now it's going to take awhile until we're back on the road."

With the RV, Gardner focused on the homeless providing services to 3,000 people last year.

Maribel Montanez of Gardner Family Health Network says, "All the equipment you see inside a doctor's office is basically what's inside of this. It's a moving clinic right here."

San Jose Fire inspectors aren't sure what caused the fire. Though staff suspects it was accidental and started by the homeless trying to keep warm.

Gardner has contacted its insurance, but says replacing the mobile clinic will be costly.

Payan says, "This is about $250,000 right now. And even if we buy a new unit, we can't use it. We'll have to transform it into a clinical setting inside. so this is going to take months."

Gardner does have one smaller unit to do outreach.  But says hundreds of people will suffer because they can't bring this clinic on the road.

Payan says, "Everything is totaled. Nothing is really salvageable. So we're just going to have to start over from scratch."

Gardner says they'll start fundraising on their website immediately to try to replace the clinic:

The first donation toward repairing the van came in the form of seven dollar bills from a homeless man.