Police officers suffer minor injuries in Los Banos fire
An elderly woman and 5-year-old boy were pulled from a house fire Thursday that also injured three city police officers, officials said.
Los Banos Fire Chief Tim Marrison said flames broke out at a home in the 1200 block of Santa Cruz Way, at the intersection of North Santa Rosa St., at 4:36 p.m.
While on the way, firefighters received word that children were trapped inside the home.
Officers who first arrived on the scene entered the living area amid heavy smoke and located the elderly woman and boy before the fire spread to the back side of the home.
“Luckily, patrol officers, police officers were in the area,” Marrison said.
Los Banos police Cmdr. Jason Hedden said several officers and a sergeant heard voices and entered the home through a bedroom window.
Sgt. Ivan Mendez found the young boy on a mattress on the ground and handed him to Officer Eduardo Solis, who took the boy through the front door to safety, Hedden said.
Mendez then located the elderly woman and handed her to Marrison, who took her to safety, Hedden said, adding that at least three responding officers went back in the home with firefighters to search for other residents, but learned there was nobody else inside.
Marrison said the elderly woman was taken to Los Banos Memorial Hospital, while the boy was taken to a hospital by his mother, who out running errands with an 8-year-old child when the fire started.
The two victims were being treated for minor smoke inhalation, a non-life threatening condition.
Hedden said three officers were also being evaluated for minor smoke inhalation, but he said he couldn’t release the names of those officers.
“The officers said it felt like they smoked 20 cigarettes,” Hedden said.
Hedden confirmed that besides Mendez and Solis, Officer Omar Mondragon helped in search and rescue operations in the home.
At one point during the fire, Hedden said, a man who knew the residents of the home ran into the house through the front door but was pulled back by Marrison, who wasn’t wearing protective gear at the time.
“He may be humble about it, but the chief is amongst the heroes today,” Hedden said.
Marrison said the cause of the fire, which started in the garage, was under investigation Thursday.
“We are checking to determine if it was caused by an electrical short, any kind of malfunctioning equipment ... we’ve got to rule out everything,” Marrison said.