Two families barely escape Valle Vista home blaze

VALLE VISTA — Two families barely made it out of their home alive and one victim was hospitalized after an enormous blaze ripped through their Valle Vista residence early Saturday morning, Aug. 3. The fire – which happened on the 43000 block of Nola St., just northwest of Chicago and Olive avenues – destroyed the home, two cars, and all of the two families belongings.

Early reports from the scene indicate two pets, a dog and cat, were unaccounted for and had possibly perished in the fire; which was reportedly caused by a lit candle left burning overnight as the family slept.

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Nearly two dozen Cal Fire/Riverside County and Soboba firefighters, along with Riverside County sheriff’s deputies and AMR personnel, were dispatched to reports of a residential structure fire around 3 a.m., Cal Fire officials later reported. They were assisted by a Breathing Support Unit.

911 callers reported that two families, including six people, lived at the residence and did not know if the families had made it safely from the home or if they were trapped inside the blaze.

When officials arrived they reported finding a fully involved fire burning at a double wide mobile home, with intense flames and thick black smoke billowing high into the sky. Firefighters reported the home and two vehicles were fully engulfed in fire and that the blaze was endangering nearby homes and other structures.

Cal Fire firefighters spent about an hour knocking down a residential structure fire that displaced six people from two families in Valle Vista this morning. Eddie George/Hemet News photo

Firefighters began an immediate aggressive attack on the blaze, while working to contain the fire to the single home and protect other area residences. No other homes were lost thanks to firefighters, who spent about an hour knocking down the destructive blaze.

One man with minor injuries was later transported to Hemet Valley Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

Family members and victims of the blaze later reported from the scene that they were all asleep at the home when one of the family woke up and realized their home was on fire.

The person who was first awoken by the intense fire scrambled to wake his family members and flee the burning residence. 

Family members managed to grab one of their pets, but in the chaos of fleeing the burning residence they were unable to locate one of their dogs and a cat, which were still unaccounted for as of this report.

One woman who lived at the home later told Hemet News community reporters that as she was fleeing the residence one of the home’s walls nearly collapsed on top of her, and she thought she was going to die in the blaze.

A family member later stated they believed the blaze was started by a candle left burning in the window overnight, and that the candle flame had possibly caught a nearby curtain on fire.

Firefighters scramble to extinguish a blaze that destroyed a Valle Vista home overnight. Eddie George/Hemet News photo

A friend of one of the two families whose home was destroyed, Nicole Postin, is now spearheading efforts to help the family who said they lost everything in the fire.

“All they have is the clothes on their back,” Postin explained in a social media post this morning. “So if anyone may have extra clothes for men, women and a little girl … anything would be gratefully appreciated.”

Hemet News community reporters, who were at the scene of the blaze just minutes after it was reported and captured dramatic footage of the massive fire, are also collecting items for both families and can be contacted via Facebook. Those wishing to help the two families can also contact Teresa at (951) 438-4397 or Richard at (951) 375-8731.

Some of the items needed include the following:

Mens clothing
* Lg/ XL tops
* size 40 and 34 pants
* size 11 shoe

Women’s clothing
* Med or Lg or XL tops
* size 11/12 and 10 bottoms
* 7 1/2 or 8 Shoes

Baby Girl clothing
* 6 to 9 month clothing
* size 3 shoes
*Diapers size 3

Fire officials are still working to determine the cause of the blaze and their investigation is ongoing.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Eddie George/Hemet News photos

Nicole-Postin photos


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 currently writes for or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, the (now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Hemet & San Jacinto 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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