ISLETON, Calif. — A woman died early Wednesday after a fire erupted inside an Isleton mobile home. According to the Rio Vista Fire Department, it happened around 1 a.m. on Totem Drive.
Firefighters arrived and found the structure was compromised. While searching for victims, a firefighter fell partially through the floor but was uninjured.
"We received multiple reports that there was a victim trapped inside the structure. Upon arrival, our first due engine verified that with bystanders and went into what we call 'rescue mode,'" said Rio Vista Fire Chief Jeff Armstrong. "Because of the complication with the rescue and some complications with the conditions inside the building, the fire did take a little over an hour to control, however it was about 20 minutes until we located the victim."
A second occupant of the home, the woman's husband, was able to escape the blaze. He was too distraught to talk on camera Wednesday but said he and his wife were planning to celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary in just three weeks.
"I did find myself arriving at the scene and feeling a bit overwhelmed because you know someone is inside there potentially still alive and still waiting for you to come in and get them so it does elevate the incident a bit," said Armstrong. "This is an unfortunate tragedy."
When neighbor Jacqueline Eubanks got an early morning knock on her door, instincts kicked in.
"Basically at like 1 a.m., 12:30 a.m., we got woken up by the neighbor knocking on our door before he grabbed his hose to basically let us know that the fire was happening," said Eubanks. "You need to do the right thing when you need to do the right thing and the right thing to do in that moment was to go, wake up all my neighbors and make sure they could get out."
While Eubanks' actions may have saved lives, she believes it was the firefighters' quick response -- with some crews coming from as far as Vallejo -- that potentially saved her community.
"I think that it's important as a neighbor to let everybody know what's going on," said Eubanks. "(Firefighters) remarkably walked through that wall of fire and put that fire out instantaneously. It was really remarkable to watch them do it and then everybody else's house is safe."
Investigators are looking into the cause of the blaze, but encourage people to take extra precautions as the holiday season and cold weather approaches.
"Most firefighters go through most of their careers with only one or two injuries or fatalities, so thankfully this is an unusual occurrence for us," said Armstrong. "But again, keeping in mind, safety in your home with lights, Christmas trees, space heaters, and again checking to make sure the presence of those smoke detectors -- all those things will contribute to you getting out of your home safely if this were to happen."