SAN DIEGO — A woman was found dead after a raging fire at her San Diego mobile home park, but her grandson was able to escape, sheriff’s officials said Sunday.
The fire was reported just before 10 p.m. Saturday in a trailer at the Sweetwater Lodge off Jamacha Boulevard in Spring Valley, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
The mobile home was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived, and after hearing someone was still believed to be trapped inside, they started search and rescue efforts even as they fought the flames, San Miguel Fire Batt. Chief Roddy Blunt said.
The 14-year-old boy told sheriff’s investigators that his grandmother had been sleeping inside the trailer. By the time firefighters reached her and the flames were under control, she was found to be dead, authorities said.
The boy’s family was contacted to come care for him and he was eventually taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation “out of an abundance of caution,” sheriff’s officials said.
A neighbor told a photographer with 619 News Media that he and his partner did everything they could to reach the woman, but there was no way they could have made it inside the burning structure.
“He’s yelling ‘Grandma, grandma, grandma,'” neighbor Abel Machado said, recalling the boy standing outside the burning trailer calling for help. The young teen told Machado his grandmother had been sleeping in the back room, where the fire started.
“We kicked the front door and pure black smoke comes out. We run to the back, we kick that door, and pure black smoke comes out. My partner, Gio, he starts yanking on the windows and he pops it out, but again, black smoke comes out and it was impossible to get inside. It was just impossible. We tried to do what we can.”
Nearby residents were evacuated as a precaution but the fire did not spread to any other mobile homes. Sheriff’s bomb and arson investigators were investigating the cause of the fire.
“It was the worst experience of my life,” said Lupita Venegas, who was good friends with the woman who died. “She was the best friend ever, we feel bad.”
Venegas described the woman as a hardworking and kind person who loved oldies music. She said her grandmother was dancing at her house Saturday night before the fire.
“She was with me last night and she’s not here anymore, it was impossible to believe,” she said.
Fire officials can’t say what caused the fire, but Venegas said the teenage boy told her there was a lit candle in his grandmother’s room.
“We need to enjoy the life, every moment, because we never know when is the last night,” she said.