17 dead in Mexicali fire

MEXICALI, B.C. – 17 people are dead and several others severely injured after a fire burned a shelter in the outskirts of Mexicali. Ortencia Flores lives next door to the nursing home that burned to the ground Tuesday morning at Ejido Queretaro. Flores says she was awaken by the chaos.

“I opened my eyes and I was impressed by the brightness, can you imagine a giant blaze and we were laying right there.” said Flores.

She says waking up to the horrific scene has been traumatic for her and her children.

“Like a shock, because I said to myself, ‘The shelter, the old folks are burning!’ I told my daughter to bring me my phone; that’s the only thing that came to my mind.” said Flores.

Flores said she immediately reported to the local fire department for help, that’s when Captain Roberto Nunez Montoya got the call. Unable to talk about the tragedy on camera, Nunez said he was the first one on scene and rescued about 20 residents from the flames.

Flores says although the damage is done she can still hear the victims screaming for help.

“They asked for help, they said, ‘Help please!’ they shouted and shouted and then you could hear more screaming from a woman who was burning, with a lot of desperation.” said Flores.

It’s been more than a day since the vicious fire killed 17 people at the nursing home. It is still off limits while investigators try to piece together what exactly started the blaze. Officials on scene were not able to comment today, but they do say they believe the fire may have been arson.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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