Husband and wife die in Terra Bella mobile home fire


It was a tragic scene in Terra Bella as family members, friends and neighbors mourned the loss of a couple who died in a fire Thursday. Fire investigators say the victims had seven children.

Charred furniture is the only thing left of the mobile home after a Thursday night fire that killed a long-time Terra Bella couple in their 60's. Investigators say a firefighter from its nearby Terra Bella station arrived within a few minutes but the flames were already heavy.

"He was unable to make any entry because we didn't have sufficient personnel at the scene until the next engine got here so he focused on protecting the structure," Tulare County fire investigator Joe Rosa said.

Thirty firefighters worked for more than an hour and a half to put out the fire Friday. A team of six investigators sifted through the debris to find a cause. Neighbors worked to repair a section of the house next door that received some fire damage. Neighbors say the couple had seven children many who stopped by the home Friday to look at the damage.

"The family is distraught, they parents left behind seven kids. Adult children but nonetheless it's hard for them," Fire investigator Joe Rosa said.

Rosa said fires in mobile homes spread faster than in houses that have a foundation.

"It tends to because the mass of the structure component is less than that of a regular structure and allows the fire to spread much quicker," Rosa said.

Neighbors say the woman was a field worker while the husband stayed at home because of a disability.

"They were very nice girl, but I'm sad," neighbor Porfira Martinez said

Fire officials say the fire was accidental. Now that they have finished their investigation they have turned the property over to the couple's family.

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