SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — A man is dead and his wife is in serious condition after an early morning house fire that may be linked to a power outage caused by a hit-and-run crash.
Around 2 a.m., firefighters responded to a call of people trapped inside a burning home in the 4400 block of Genevieve Lane in San Bernardino.
When they arrived on scene, they witnessed Greg Oriomonge, a good Samaritan, pulling a man from the home.
Oriomonge said he was inside his garage when he heard an explosion, and a woman scream, “Help! Help! Help!”
He said he grabbed a water hose and tried to douse the flames. He then made his way inside the house but the smoke was too thick. Oriomonge said he made another attempt, and that’s when he spotted the man, and eventually pulled him out.
“I found him and then I went back in another time, and I pulled him out of the house … I wish I could have gotten to him a little sooner,” he said.
Although the cause of the fire remains under investigation, firefighters said it appeared that the distribution system inside the home was overwhelmed due to a voltage spike.
Capt. Kenny Yellen of the San Bernardino City Fire Department told KCAL9’s Louisa Hodge that a traffic collision had preceded the structure fire and occurred within the same power grid. He said the collision apparently caused some power lines to whip and connect.
“The power lines connected together causing a huge power surge to the power grid. It looks like some of that power was directed here, and caused the fire,” the captain said, who described the investigation as “unprecedented.”
“I’ve got 24 years in the fire service and I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” he said.
The driver of the vehicle allegedly fled the scene, according to authorities.
The identity of the deceased was not released but Hodge reported that the couple was in their 90s. At last word, the woman was said to be listed in serious condition at a hospital.