SANTA ROSA (Azenith Smith/KTVU) - The searing hot temperatures on Sunday were no match for firefighters battling a blaze at a mobile home park in Santa Rosa where a woman was killed in the fast-moving fire. She was trapped inside her home. Authorities are now trying to determine what caused the double wide mobile home to go up in flames.
“I heard her scream,” said Joanette Holiday-Smith, the victim’s neighbor. “When it went up and it was black smoke and the fire came out. All you heard was the woman screaming in there.”
Neighbors recall the terrifying moments a fire ripped through a mobile home in Santa Rosa, killing the woman inside. The fire left Smith visibly shaken up.
“It was awful,” said Smith. “I watch things and see things on TV. Never in a million years I would imagine this.”
Fire officials said around 12:30 p.m., they were called out to the mobile home on Bejay Avenue. When they got there, the fire spread so fast, fire officials said there was little hope of rescuing anyone inside. Firefighters were able to get it under control in 20 minutes.
“The whole awning went up quick,” said Rachel Myers, the victim’s friend. “The whole back of the house was on fire. It was engulfed in flames.”
Authorities said the fire started in a rear bedroom. The cause is unknown. The victim's husband and son were able to escape the flames. Neighbors rushed to help including Rachel Myers yet the fire was too intense.
“By the time I got there it was too hot for me to get in,” said Myers.
Myers said the victim's husband tried to rescue his wife but she was trapped in the master bathroom in the back of the mobile home. While the hot temperatures didn't contribute to the spread of the fire, firefighters called in more personnel in triple digit heat to rotate crews out.
“Because of the heat today, right now it's 102 degrees we have more rigs in here because we need the manpower sharing more than we need the equipment,” said Bat. Chief Joe Giordani of the Rincon Valley/Windsor Fire Department.
Fire officials believe hoarding may have taken place causing a lot of material to burn. For now, neighbors are trying to cope with the tragic loss.
“It’s really sad,” said Myers. “I knew the woman who was there and she was my friend.”
Neighbors said the victim had lived there for 26 years. While her name has not been released, neighbors report the victim was 67 years old. The fire caused minor damage to two other neighboring mobile homes.