Man badly burned in wind-driven fire that destroyed several Manteca mobile homes

Local News

Warning: Details in this story are graphic in nature. Discretion is advised.

MANTECA, Calif. (KTXL) — A mobile home park was evacuated Monday afternoon after wind-driven flames burned at least one person in Manteca.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said several of their deputies helped evacuate the Islander Marina Mobile Home Park due to fires fueled by strong winds.

One burn victim was taken to a hospital for treatment.

“He came out screaming, went to his knees, and he couldn’t go any … And he tried to crawl, and I tried to get to him and it was just intense. I couldn’t,” said Rick Larson, who lost his home.

Larson described the moment his 32-year-old neighbor, who was sleeping, was burned by fire, which destroyed both of their mobile homes, including at least three others in the Islander Mobile Home Park.

“They were telling him crawl, crawl, ’cause we couldn’t get to him,” Larson recalled.

The Lathrop-Manteca fire chief said the neighbor was taken to the hospital, with life-threatening injuries.

“Severe third-degree burns over most of his body,” said Chief Josh Capper.

Fire investigators were determining the cause of the fire and were concentrating around the area of Larson’s deck. Larson said the winds had kicked up when he initially smelled smoke, then saw the flames underneath his 30-foot-high wooden deck.

The fire chief said those winds were definitely a contributing factor as the flames spread to other parts of the mobile home park. At the peak of this fire, the gusts were as fast as 40 mph.

Sheriff’s deputies evacuated the entire mobile home park, about 60 trailers in all. 

“The wind played a big role in all of this. But our crews were able to keep it to about five trailers that were damaged and a couple of cars,” Capper said.

The valley received the strongest gusts during Monday’s wind advisory, with winds exceeding 30 mph.

“The high winds are not helping,” the sheriff’s office posted referencing the city’s fire response efforts.

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