Pleasanton mobile home park fire: Husband dies, wife escapes

A husband died as a result of a deadly fire at a mobile home in Pleasanton, but his wife was able to escape, firefighters and neighbors said. 

The fire erupted just before midnight on Wednesday at the Pleasanton Hacienda Mobile Home Park on Vineyard Avenue. 

Neighbors identified the couple as Richard, 76, and Kathryn, 72, Lorenz. They said Richard Lorenz didn't make it out and was killed in the fire. 

His wife, neighbors said, was taken to the hospital.

"They are super nice. Super nice. Very kind. Always caring. We need to really pray for them and their families," next-door neighbor, Bobbie Wendschlag said. "They're a beautiful couple. It's so, so sad." 

Another neighbor described hearing an explosion or ‘thud’ sound, shortly before the fire broke out. 

They said Kathryn ran out of the home, calling for help.

"She had a garden hose, she was trying everything. She was panicking," said neighbor, Dave Goodwin. "She just kept shouting, ‘my husband's still in there!’ - it was so, so sad."

The coroner has not officially released the name of the person who died. 

Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Battalion Chief Eric Roach described a challenging situation for firefighters.  

When they arrived at the scene of the fire, a team of five firefighters started to go into the home to rescue the man trapped inside. 

The firefighters had to quickly rush out after experiencing something firefighters call a "flashover". 

"When a fire's contained to a house like this, the contents heat up. Especially when the fire and gases and heat have nowhere to go," explained Roach. "What happens is once it gets enough oxygen and it gets hot enough, all of those flammable contents burst into flames at the same time. We made the decision to go in and do what we could, knowing someone was in there. But the conditions changed on them, pretty quick."

Neighbors said firefighters arrived quickly. They were grateful the fire didn't spread to any neighboring homes. 

Goodwin recalled the intensity of the fire.

"You could just feel the heat radiating," he said. "The flames just started roiling out, coming out fast."

He said Kathy tried to go back into the home to rescue her husband, but neighbors told her grim reality: "I said, Kathy, we can't get in there. There's no way," said Goodwin. "It was burning so hot."

"The flames were burning to the heavens," said Wendschlag. "Just blazing hot. Blazing hot."

Fire investigators went into the burned-up home later in the morning to gather evidence to figure out the cause and origin of the fire.