Mobile home catches fire on New Year’s Eve

The Gilroy Fire Department and South Santa Clara County Fire

A man is being treated for burns after a mobile home caught fire
on New Year’s Eve.
A man is being treated for burns after a mobile home caught fire on New Year’s Eve.

The Gilroy Fire Department and South Santa Clara County Fire District responded to a call about a house fire at 8282 Murray Avenue at the Wagon Wheel Mobile Village.

When the GFD arrived at 8:20 p.m., the mobile home was engulfed in flames with the roof on fire, said Capt. Tim Price with the Gilroy Fire Department Chestnut Station. Firefighters extinguished the fire in 15 minutes.

The victim was taken by ambulance to the burn center at South Valley Medical Clinic, according to the GFD.

Robert Bentson, a resident who lives on the other side of the mobile home park, heard a loud boom while he was preparing to leave his house to celebrate the holiday, but didn’t think much of it. As he was driving across the park, Bentson heard people yelling that there was someone inside the home.

“The windows were blown out. It was like a movie,” Bentson said.

Bentson decided to stop and help. He said in the time it took him to park his car, the fire had engulfed the living room and kitchen.

After calling for the victim to come outside, Bentson and another resident entered the mobile home and found a man in his 50s on the living room floor. The two men picked the victim up and transported him outside.

Bentson said the man was incoherent with severe burns on his hands, neck and face. Bentson questioned the victim and learned the man was alone in the house.

The son of a former Gilroy firefighter, Bentson said he walked into the burning home without thinking about it, as his father had taught him as a child to help people in trouble.

Bentson thought the victim was lucky to get out when he did, because after being rescued, the house was soon consumed with flames.

“The place just went up like a tissue box,” he said.

Firefighters determined the mobile home was a total loss and condemned the building. Price said the estimated damage is $100,000 for the home and $5,000 for valuables inside the house.

Bentson said other residents told him the victim had signed a lease for the mobile home and moved in that day.

The residents of the mobile home park are gathering clothes to donate to the victim.

GFD is investigating the cause of the fire.

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