The Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit has released additional details and video footage from a house fire Tuesday night in East Sonora that showed how firefighters and a Good Samaritan braved flames, smoke and low visibility to rescue two people who were trapped inside the burning home.
Firefighters arrived at the scene on the 19100 block of Hess Avenue within five minutes of the initial call about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and verified seven people lived at the 6,700-square-foot residence, two of whom remained in the building.
Tuolumne County Fire Department engines 511 and 513 deployed two hose lines for the rescue and immediately made entry through the side of the house into the attached living quarter, according to a news release posted with the video footage Thursday night.
The engine crews were met by an unidentified community member who had already made entry into the home and rescued one of the trapped residents near the doorway, the release stated.
Firefighters continued searching the home and found the second resident in a room behind a closed door. A crew from engine 511 carried the victim through the building, where fire activity was increasing and there was low visibility.
Sheriff’s deputies helped take each victim to the Tuolumne County EMS medic unit. All seven occupants of the home were evaluated for injury, though only one had to be transported by ambulance to a local hospital.
A video posted on YouTube by the Cal Fire TCU shows footage from a firefighters body or helmet camera and how the conditions looked inside the building as the rescue was taking place.
The release credited the assistance of the unidentified Good Samaritan and sheriff’s deputies with allowing firefighters to quickly engage in fire suppression efforts. It also attributed the successful rescue with no loss of life to efforts by the home’s occupants, which included having working smoke alarms and closing bedroom doors, as well as help from surrounding agencies.
A request for double the initial amount of resources dispatched to the incident was required due to the size of the home and intensity of the fire, according to the release. Firefighters continued battling the blaze for approximately seven and a half hours due to the home’s unique construction, the release stated.
Personnel remained at the scene cooling smoldering debris all of Wednesday.
Agencies that the Cal Fire TCU cited with helping to put out the blaze and ensure no injuries to firefighters or loss of life included the Columbia Fire Protection District, Modesto Fire Department, Twain Harte Fire Department, Mi-Wuk Sugar Pine Fire Protection District, Sonora Fire Department, Manteca District Ambulance, and Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.