FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --It was a New Year's day tragedy Sunday for a former Merced County supervisor. Deidre Kelsey is in the hospital recovering after she escaped her burning house early in the morning.
Kelsey spent more than two decades as a board of supervisor, and she was asleep in her Merced County home at around four a.m. when investigators say a fire was burning in her house.
Kelsey's daughter she says her mom is recovering from surgery with a number of bruises and degree of burns all over her body.
Smoke was still smoldering Sunday afternoon after a fire gutted the nearly 3,000 square foot historic brick home. Kelsey's term ended on New Year's Eve after spending more than 20 years on the board representing District 4. But the start of her retirement began with tragedy.
"I'm very happy that by the grace of God she escaped," her daughter said.
She says her mom went through extreme measures to survive.
"She had to escape from the roof to her car and drive to the fire station," she said. "So, she certainly showed her strong will."
After driving five miles to the nearest fire station, Kelsey was transported to Community Regional Medical Center to receive treatment at the hospital's burn center.
"To have this happen in her personal life, it is very tragic," her daughter said.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke says the news of what happened saddens him. He said Kelsey was dedicated to the people she served and had a message for her.
"Deidre you're a tough country girl," he said. "You're going to get through this."
Kelsey's home has been in her family for four generations. Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire.