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Family of five in Seeley fire placed in hotel to recover from injuries

A mom and dad did everything they had to do to get their three children out safely - News 11's Vanessa Gongora reports

SEELEY, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - An unfortunate event on June 24 for a family who lost everything in a matter of seconds.

Parents of an eight-month-old girl, 10-year-old girl and 12-year old-boy were all in their home at the Sunbeam Lake RV Resort in the afternoon of June 23, 2022 when flames burst out, according to Imperial County Deputy CEO Esperanza Colio Warren.

"The parents, when they found out about the fire, they tried to escape through the front door and they couldn't," said Warren. "So what they did, they went through the back door and kicked the back door to be able to escape."

According to the Imperial County Fire Chief Alfredo Estrada, all five were taken to the hospital immediately.

"The family was getting services from the hospital as they suffer from second and third degree burns. The parents actually cannot walk," continued Warren. "For now they are in wheelchairs recovering from the injuries."

Warren says the parents were just worried about their babies being safe.

"That's the beauty of being a parent. As parents their goal was to save themselves but more importantly to save their babies and they were very proud to see their babies didn't have injuries, the two little ones," said Warren. "The oldest one ran so he got blisters on his feet but he's going to recover very soon."

Warren says the county has a program now that is to provide assistance to families that have been effected by a situation like this, such as a fire or earthquake.

"What we do, we try to keep those funds available on a yearly basis to prevent people from becoming homeless after they lose their homes or similar situations," says Warren.

Because of this, Warren was able to help the family get a hotel for the meantime.

Warren thanks the Imperial County Sheriff's Department for assisting the family.

"They were able to provide us with a van that allows individuals in wheelchairs to be transported. We moved the families to a hotel in the city of El Centro and they're going to be there for one or two weeks until they recover from the injuries," Warren explained.

She says social services and the Red Cross also responded. Social services provided food for the family yesterday and today and is working on getting the family additional resources.

Imperial County Deputy Fire Chief Salvador Flores says fires move faster in mobile homes because it has to do with the space in between the walls, the space from the ground and there's just more access for wind to gain and drive the fire faster.

Flores also says the integrity of the mobile home diminishes faster than an actual structure that's fixed to the ground.

He says they tend to see a lot of electrical initiated fires in mobile homes versus a fixed asset.

"We tend to credit that to the overuse or over extension of the intended property in how it was constructed", says Flores. What I mean by that is a mobile home usually has x amount of outlets in it and we tend to demand more of the actual outlet then what it was intended to do."

He says those are perfect examples of what can cause a fire and how electrical equipment plays a part into the actual ignition of the fire.

Chief Estrada says though the fire is still under investigation, they are leaning toward an electrical issue according to one of the witnesses inside.

Article Topic Follows: Imperial County
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Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA News 11 team in 2021.

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