One dead in mobile home fire | December 6, 2013 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - December 6, 2013

One dead in mobile home fire

Early morning blaze takes life of Mountain View resident

by Nick Veronin

A resident of a Mountain View mobile home park died after a fire tore through his unit just after midnight on Dec. 2. No one else was injured.

The Mountain View Fire Department has released only a few details about the blaze at the Santiago Villa mobile home park, located at 1075 Space Park Way. According to spokeswoman Jaime Garrett, investigators are currently working to determine the cause of the fire.

As of Wednesday, the Santa Clara County Coroner's Office still had not released the identity of the victim. Another resident of Santiago Villa said the home's resident was a man.

"I was on my computer pretty late at night, and I heard a bunch of alarms going off," said Gabriel Lujano of Mountain View. Lujano said he lives a few streets down from the fire. He ran to check out the scene once he realized the sirens were headed nearby.

Lujano arrived shortly after the fire department had established a perimeter and took pictures. "The house was just billowing non-stop," he said. "There was a lot of smoke."

The fire was first reported at 12:34 a.m. Monday morning. Firefighters immediately got to work, extinguishing the fire and preventing its spread to neighboring units in the closely packed mobile home park, Garrett said in a press release.

Firefighters could not enter the home until the flames were completely extinguished because the structural integrity of the unit had been badly damaged, said Garrett. After the fire was out, emergency crews combed through the wreckage and found one resident had died.

According to Lujano, about 30 neighbors watched as the fire department worked.

One of the victim's neighbors told him they heard a small explosion before looking outside and seeing the house in flames.

At one point, he said, he noticed a neighbor of the deceased man crying and exclaiming in shock that the unit had been engulfed in flames so fast.

While no cause of the fire has been determined yet, Garrett offered several warnings on how to avoid fires in the home. The combination of cold weather and the holiday season — with Christmas trees, lights and more time spent cooking — make for an increased likelihood of accidental fires.

Safety tips include: keeping flammable items away from heat sources, like the stove or fireplace; maintaining a "kid-free" zone around open fires and space heaters; never using an oven to heat the home; having heating equipment and fireplaces installed or maintained by qualified professionals annually; and never leaving a fire, oven, or hot stove unattended.

It is also important to regularly test smoke alarms, she said.