MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) --A medical helicopter rushed a woman to the hospital after a fire destroyed her family's home in Merced County. Relatives said the victim was trying to rescue her pets.
The mobile home was destroyed along with everything inside of it. Firefighters said smoke detectors alerted the five people who lived there, but one man tells us he had to pull his sister away from the flames -- and she was burned while trying to save her cats.
A heartbreaking scene off Highway 99, a plume of smoke rising above what used to be a mobile home near Plainsburg Road. Five family members were there when the flames ignited -- just after noon. "As I'm getting up, I can hear everyone else in the house screaming and running around and trying to get cats out, and it was too late," said John Meyer, fire victim.
Meyer said his sister, Ramona, went back into the burning home to try to save the animals she's raised since they were kittens. He believes only two of the six survived. "She went in to try to get their babies, as she called them, and she couldn't find them, and we had to drag her out of there. We had to drag out of there, there's no question she would have died in there."
First responders treated the woman in an ambulance for burns and smoke inhalation until a medical helicopter arrived to fly to her a Fresno Trauma Center.
Meanwhile, the other four family members declined treatment and tried to process what they lost. "Everything, computers, televisions, laptops, all of our food. We just went shopping, everything we bought-- our pets, our clothes," Meyer.
Firefighters said, fortunately, the home had smoke detectors that may have prevented even more serious injuries. "It's just another valuable lesson on why working smoke alarms are so critical for all of us to have in our homes," said Batt. Chief Jeremy Rahn, Merced County Cal Fire.
The Red Cross is now helping the victims take the first steps in dealing with this disaster.
The victim we spoke with believes this was an electrical fire but investigators are still working to determine the cause.