Daniel R. Munsey, Fire Chief/Fire Warden

Date/Time: 7/30/2022, 11:10PM
1100 block of East Holly Vista Blvd, San Bernardino
Residential Structure Fire

On Saturday, July 30, 2022 at 11:11 pm, San Bernardino County Fire responded to a residential structure fire in the 1100 block of East Holly Vista Blvd in the city of San Bernardino. Additional information revealed that the house was possibly occupied. Ambulances were immediately requested to respond to the incident.

Firefighters arrived within six minutes of dispatch to find moderate smoke showing from a single story, single family residence. After forcing entry through the front door, firefighters entered the home to search for potential victims. Under near zero visibility conditions with smoke levels to the floor, personnel initiated a search, utilizing a systematic method and a thermal imaging camera to help their efforts. Within minutes they located two adult victims, rescued them from the home and transferred care to awaiting crews outside. Firefighter/Paramedics immediately initiated Advanced Life Support (ALS) care in the front yard of the home. Simultaneously, firefighters continued to search for additional victims and suppress the fire.

The fire was knocked down within 15 minutes of arrival. Both adult patients were transported to area hospitals in grave condition. Sadly, both succumbed to their injuries. A completed search of the home also revealed multiple deceased pets, dogs, cats and birds.

Eight engines, two truck companies, two medic squads, and one chief officer totaling 35 personnel were assigned to the incident. American Medical Response (AMR) provided three ambulances.

Multiple San Bernardino County Fire Investigators responded to complete a cause and origin investigation. Investigators have preliminarily determined the cause to be accidental and unintentional in nature. The investigation is in its preliminary stages and is currently ongoing. No working smoke detectors were found inside the home at the time of the fire. Forty minutes prior to the fire, firefighters responded to a single report of a smell of smoke at an intersection North of the fire. Firefighters checked the dispatched location and surrounding area, finding no smoke or fire. It is unclear if the smoke call and the structure fire are related.

Fire in the home

Today’s homes burn faster than ever. Experts say you may have a little as two minutes (or even less) to safely escape a typical home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight wood construction, all contribute to the increased rate at which home fires burn.

Home is the place people feel safest from fire, but it’s the place they’re at greatest risk. Approximately 80% of all U.S. fire deaths occur in the home; an average of seven people die in home fires every day. It is important for residents to install and maintain smoke detectors and have a home escape plan.

Smoke Detector Statistics

• Smoke alarms were present in three-quarters (74 percent) of reported home fires in 2014–2018.

• Almost three out of five home fire deaths were caused by fires in properties with no smoke alarms (41 percent) or smoke alarms that failed to operate (16 percent).

• The risk of dying in reported home structure fires is 55 percent lower in homes with working smoke alarms than in homes with no alarms or none that worked.

• When present, hardwired smoke alarms operated in 94 percent of the fires considered large enough to trigger a smoke alarm. Battery-powered alarms operated 82 percent of the time. Power source issues were the most common factors when smoke alarms failed to operate.

• People who were fatally injured in home fires with working smoke alarms were more likely to have been in the area of origin and involved in the ignition, to have a disability, to be at least 65 years old, to have acted irrationally, or to have tried to fight the fire themselves. These victims were less likely to have been sleeping than those who died in fires in properties without working smoke alarms.

*Source – NFPA – Smoke Alarms in US Home Fires Marty Ahrens February 2021

San Bernardino County Fire frequently partners with multiple agencies to assist with home safety education and resources to increase safety inside private homes. One of these is programs is the Red Cross “Hot Shots” program where smoke detectors are supplied, free of charge. Residents can contact their local fire headquarters to get assistance.

You can visit https://sbcfire.org/contact/ or can call 909-387-5974 for assistance.