UPDATE: Cause of Anza fire that severely burned 3 still under investigation

UPDATED: Monday, Jan. 7, 12 p.m., With additional details and photos.

ANZA — Three people were hospitalized with severe burns after a fire ripped through an Anza mobile home early Saturday morning, Jan 5. Two of the victims were life-flighted from the scene in air ambulances after the devastating fire that erupted at a home in the 39000 block of Contreras Rd., north of Cahuilla Rd.


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Twenty-five firefighters from seven engine companies, with assistance from two water tenders, a Breathing Support Unit, and a Paramedic Squad, were dispatched to the blaze around 5:14 a.m., after receiving reports of the residential structure fire, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire spokesperson April Newman later wrote in an incident report.

“The first arriving unit reported a single-story mobile home well involved in fire, with flames through the roof,” Newman later explained.

An Anza home was destroyed by a fire that hospitalized three people with “severe” burns and other “major” injuries. Philip Canaday photo

Area residents who witnessed the fire later reported flames as high as 40 feet in the air, with the blaze threatening to spread to outbuildings, foliage, and other nearby structures.

Three victims were located with “severe burns” and other injuries described by Newman as “major.” Based on the severity of burns sustained by two of the victims, officials at the scene requested two Mercy Air Ambulances and Mercy3 and Mercy18 were soon launched and headed to the scene. A ground ambulance was summoned for the third victim, who Newman said sustained moderate injuries.

While firefighters were getting the blaze under control, Anza Co Op Electric officials were summoned to the scene to shut off utilities to the destroyed residence.

Officials updated that they had successfully knocked down the fire just after 6 a.m., about 45 minutes after the blaze was first reported.

After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters remained on scene for about four hours, conducting extensive overhaul and mop-up operations.

Newman later estimated the fire loss at about $150,000, but said firefighters’ efforts saved about $120,000 in property and belongings.

The cause of last Saturday’s blaze is still under investigation.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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