Deadly North Highlands house fire remains under investigation

Local News

NORTH HIGHLANDS, Calif. (KTXL) — A house fire that killed one person remained under investigation Tuesday in North Highlands.

At 1 a.m. on July 5, firefighters were doing what they could to rescue a man who was inside the home on Floral Drive.

His 12-year-old daughter managed to exit a rear window to safety, according to a neighbor. 

“She was lucky to get out. She wasn’t harmed, she didn’t have any smoke or anything,” neighbor Melissa Zahorodny said. 

But it was different for the girl’s father, who neighbors said was found in a hallway leading to his daughter’s bedroom. 

It took as long as 10 minutes for firefighters to locate and get him medical aid. 

“And we were cheering for him when they wheeled him, you know, told him he’s got this, he can do this,” Zahorodny said. 

The man was unconscious at the time and later died at the hospital.

“I heard nothing but great things about the man,” Zahorodny said. “He was a hard worker, that’s for sure. He would always go to work really early, come home kind of late.” 

Neighbors said he didn’t water his front yard. Firefighters initially believed that the fire started in front of his house.

Illegal fireworks shook the night in the neighborhood. Two other homes nearby caught fire that night, requiring evacuations. 

“It was just getting fun. Now somebody actually lost their life, and now we should probably rethink that,” neighbor Ray Garcia said.

Metro Fire is investigating dozens of fires from over the holiday period. A death moves the fire on Flora Drive to the top of the priority list. 

But a closer investigation will take days, if not weeks. 

“We want to stress to everybody not to jump to any conclusions that the cause of every fire that we responded to and are investigating is an illegal fireworks-caused fire,” Metro Fire Battalion Chief Chris Vestal said.

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