SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - A grandmother died and a 12-year-old girl, believed to be her great- granddaughter, is in critical condition at a hospital Monday after a two-alarm house fire, San Jose firefighters said.
Investigators said the elderly woman, who used a wheelchair, was found dead when firefighters went inside the home. The homeowner pulled the grandmother out of the house through a front window.
In addition, a young man jumped to safety out of a window from a first-story bedroom at 1220 Greenmore Drive in the city's Cambrian neighborhood, and suffered minor injuries. The remaining person who lived in the house was at the store and the time and was not hurt.
The fire was reported in the cul-de-sac at about 7:30 a.m. and likely started in the back of the house, firefighters said.
"It looks like there was a large amount of fire in the back. Tremendous amounts of smoke inside. Huge columns. So fully involved," said San Jose Fire Capt. Peter Caponio.
"As the house was up in flames, and they were still trying to get the water and the hose and all that stuff, they did take a body out," said a neighbor who only gave her first name, Chelsea.
"When you're inundated with smoke, it suppresses your respiratory drive," Caponio said, adding that the smoke can make you unconscious. "It just depends how heavy the smoke was and [from] what room. If you're asleep you night not even know."
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
It's unknown at this time if there were smoke detectors in the house, Caponio said.
This was "tragic. Firefighters did the best that they could," he added.
Neighbors said they had just seen the little girl playing a day earlier. When she was transported to the hospital, they said she had burns all over her body.
"She doesn't even live here. Like, she was just visiting. So you just take one day at a time. And the fact that this little girl is in this situation, and this isn't even her home...So, god is with them and I'm praying for their family," Chelsea said.