YUMA, Ariz. – A family of five are left without a home after a fire started in their kitchen and spread through the entire trailer home destroying almost everything.
“It’s just a traumatic experience,” said Erica Gutierrez, who lived in the house with her boyfriend and three children, “Just coming and seeing how everything is gone, it’s heartbreaking.”
On Sunday, family and friends were over for a cook-out at Gutierrez and her boyfriend’s home on Shale Drive and Fortuna Road in the Foothills. Gutierrez was making fries on the stove inside the home when she left for the store to get salt. She left a pot of oil burning on the stove.
“I left a pot of oil on the stove, I completely forgot. I went to the store really quick to get salt when I came back it was on fire.”
Felix Acosta, Gutierrez’s boyfriend and father of the three children was outside getting ready to start the grill when he noticed the smoke inside the house.
“We tried to do what we could,” said Acosta.
No one was harmed in the fire and the three kids were not at the home when the fire started. Acosta and neighbors called 911 and tried to put out the blaze themselves.
“The neighbor went all out. He opened the door and tried to extinguish it but it was just too strong.”
The neighbor across the street Richard Gent, saw the smoke and ran to the house with a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.
“I saw the smoke and ran over there. Kitchen was on fire, living room was on fire. I shot it a few times then had to go outside and get some air. Went back inside and shot it again,” said Gent.
Gent says it took fire fighters 20 minutes to get to the home but by then it was too late. The entire trailer was nearly destroyed including Gutierrez’s purse and money. The American Red Cross is helping the family recover by supplying them with clothes, money and a place to stay. The family says what they have to do now is focus on the future.
“We had just moved in two months ago to start over and this happened. What are we going to do is start over. That’s all you can do,” said Acosta.
There is a GoFund me page for the family. If you wish to donate visit www.gofundme.com/55xe4dac.