Woman suffers burns in home fire

A 55-year-old grandmother burned her hands and inhaled smoke Thursday morning as she battled a fire in the River Road home she shares with her boyfriend and grandson.

A neighbor told Linda Boyd to get out of the house while he tried to knock down the flames with a garden hose and fire extinguisher.

"I lasted about five minutes," Dino Welch said, "then I had to get out. The Fire Department showed up and they took care of it."

Ceres fire Battalion Chief Randy Wheeler said the home sustained extensive fire damage to two bedrooms and significant heat damage throughout. The home is not habitable, he said, but can be repaired.

The Red Cross is helping Boyd, boyfriend Don Mellow and Boyd's young grandson with temporary lodging.

Mellow appeared dazed as he packed crates full of papers and other valuables reeking of smoke into the rear of a car. He said he had lived in the home for 30 years.

Welch said Mellow was not home at the time of the fire, which was reported at 11:17 a.m.

Welch said he had stopped home to pick up some tools when Boyd's grandson came running over. "He was crying his eyes out; he said his blanket was on fire."

Welch ran next door to help but soon realized he had to get out of the burning home.

Wheeler said the fire's cause is under investigation. He did not have a dollar estimate on the damage to the home and its contents.

Boyd and her grandson were taken to Doctors Medical Center. Wheeler said Boyd appeared to have second-degree burns on her hands and suffered from smoke inhalation. The boy was taken as a precaution to be checked for smoke inhalation.

Wheeler said the heat and smoke were too intense for firefighters to enter the home. They knocked down flames in a bedroom through a broken window and cut two holes in the roof to ventilate the heat and smoke before entering the home.

He said firefighters had the fire out in about 15 minutes.

Fifteen firefighters and five engines from the Ceres and Modesto fire departments battled the blaze.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at or 578-2316.