61-year-old man and dog killed in travel trailer fire in Fresno County

Kate Nemarich Image
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
61-year-old man and dog killed in travel trailer fire in Fresno County
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A person and dog were found dead following a travel trailer fire in Fresno County early Monday morning.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Joseph Westmoreland says Joe Perales moved in next door to him a few years ago.

"He's about the best neighbor I've had in here," Westmoreland said.

He says Perales had some medical issues and was recently discharged from the hospital.

Neighbors and family members would check in on the 61-year-old and his dog LoLo.

Early Monday morning was no different.

"I didn't even hear nothing until my nephew hollered at me, 'Fire Uncle Joe Joe, get out of the house,'" Westmoreland.

When they saw flames coming from the trailer, Westmoreland says they didn't wait for fire crews to take action.

"My neighbor right here was the first one on the scene, he had his water hose going, and then my godson Christopher had his water hose from over there going up here, and then I had my water hose from the back over there shooting through the back window right here," Westmoreland said.

Within 10 minutes of getting the call, North Central Fire Deputy Chief Jacob McAfee says crews arrived and put out the fire.

RELATED: RVs, trailers present greater risks in fires

He says while they understand why the neighbors jumped in to help, they don't recommend it.

"While we do appreciate people trying to help out their neighbors, that's kind of the American way, it does put them at risk as well, and typically a garden hose, you're looking at 5 gallons per minute, and so when the fire is that well involved, you're not doing much," Deputy Fire Chief of North Central Fire Jacob McAfee.

Three engines responded with one water tender and one battalion chief. McAfee says the aggressive response prevented other RVs in the park from catching fire.

Family members came by earlier to bury Perales' beloved dog LoLo.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but at this time, nothing suspicious has been found.

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