MODESTO -- A family of eight in Modesto is still trying to move on after they say a fire caused by a faulty rechargeable battery made their home uninhabitable. FOX40 spoke with the family about how they were all able to escape the flames.
Knocks by a neighbor captured on a home security system likely saved nine people on Memorial Day.
Edwin Manguerra, Angelica Bernal, their six kids and Angelica’s uncle were all inside around 8:45 Monday morning when Edwin says rechargeable batteries he had charging in the garage for their 9-year-old’s birthday caught fire.
“I’ve charged hundreds of batteries [in] my experience and I don’t know what triggered this to catch on fire,” said Manguerra.
As the family rushed out one by one, panic set in as everyone looked for the youngest, a 3-year-old.
“The scariest moment was not knowing where he was. Throughout the whole ordeal, I know there was a fire, but it was more my son, I can’t find him, where is he?” said Bernal.
They did not know the neighbor had grabbed the boy. Even a delivery driver who was in the area as the fire broke out ran into the home to check.
“I’m so grateful for that. If it wasn’t for the people, our community in our village one that [had] stepped up and helped us out, people opened their doors, ordered pizza for our children, saying happy birthday to my son through the ordeal. The gratitude…,” expressed Bernal.
The family had lived in the home for 13 years. Now, after losing three cars and almost all of their possessions, the parents are also juggling getting ready for their daughter’s high school graduation next week and a 9-year-old’s missed birthday
As far as us, it’s more about trying to give our kids a normalcy again. The things can be replaced, our lives cannot be replaced. The photos we lost can’t be replaced, but we have our family. That’s all that counts,” Bernal stated.
Modesto fire has ruled the fire accidental and the family is thankful for their quick response that kept the fire from spreading too far from the garage…as they embark on a journey for a new normal, the family is thankful for the knocks on the door that helped them all get out
“It’s sad to see that it’s in the shape it’s in right now. I still can’t believe it happened,” said Manguerra.
The family plans to restore the home and hopes to move back in within the next year. If you would like to help them, please visit their GoFundMe page.