– A family of three has been living in a hotel since a two-alarm
fire destroyed the second floor of their south Gilroy home Saturday
The Gilroy Fire Department ruled the blaze
with human error the cause, but officials would not
By Lori Stuenkel
Gilroy – A family of three has been living in a hotel since a two-alarm fire destroyed the second floor of their south Gilroy home Saturday afternoon.
The Gilroy Fire Department ruled the blaze “accidental,” with human error the cause, but officials would not elaborate.
Bob and LuAnne Bayley, along with their son, watched with their Poppyfield Court neighbors as Gilroy, Santa Clara County and California Department of Forestry crews doused the flames that apparently started in, and were mostly contained to, the boy’s upstairs front bedroom.
The first of three GFD engines arrived at the six-year-old home minutes after a neighbor reported the fire at 3:41pm, and along with three county and one CDF engine had it under control in 45 minutes, said Division Chief Ed Bozzo.
Friends and neighbors gathered in the street near the home, west of Thomas Road, and comforted the family until firefighters cleared the scene about 9pm.
“There was quite a bit of overhaul that we had to do,” Bozzo said, including clearing debris, watching for hot spots and conducting an investigation.
Now the family is facing months more of overhaul to their home, to repair extensive smoke and water damage.
“My whole upper floor has to be gutted,” LuAnne Bayley said Monday afternoon, shaking her head. The petite woman stood on her front porch with a friend while her husband met with an insurance agent inside the house.
She said Saturday afternoon was “terrible,” and she does not yet know the extent of the damage or how long it will take to repair, pending a roof inspection.
Nearby, in the driveway, sat a charred pile of belongings, most of it unrecognizable, save the spring skeleton of a mattress, what appeared to be a headboard and footboard, and a dictionary.
Bozzo said he did not know if the family was home when the fire started, and the family did not specify, other than to say Bob Bayley was headed home from Santa Cruz when he received the call.
“We have had quite a lot of community support,” said Bob Bayley, a network engineer.
Neighbors helped remove some valuables from the home, and made sure the family’s three dogs, three cats, rabbit and two fish got out safely. Firefighters also did an excellent job, he said, and the family has been contacted by a group that helps victims of fires.
Bob Bayley said he, his wife – who works in a florist’s shop – and son moved into the brand-new house six years ago, while the neighborhood near Uvas Creek was still under construction. The boy, who appeared distraught Saturday afternoon, is doing “fine,” his father said.
“He would like to be back home,” he said.