Joe Vitoria, owner of the house and grandfather to the boy, said he was in the middle of turning on his irrigation pumps in a nearby field when he saw billowing clouds of smoke coming from a short distance. He immediately ran back, noticing it was coming from his home.
His wife, along with the six-year-old boy, were inside the house at the time of the fire.
Another relative, Arthur Vitoria, said he saw the house brimming with smoke, and saw Joe’s wife outside the home covered in soot, screaming.
“There was smoke coming out of the air conditioner, and my wife showed up, all black with smoke,” Joe said.
“She was so nervous, she couldn’t tell me what she was trying to say,” Arthur said. “She was trying to tell us [the boy] was still in there.”
Arthur and Joe were unable to enter the structure due to severity of the fire, which had black smoke and flames fluttering from every opening.
Joe said the boy was last seen watching television in one of the bedrooms, and went to a bedroom window at the back of the house. He then used his elbow to bash in the glass, causing a large scratch on the inside of his forearm.
“The main thing was getting him,” said Joe.
Luckily, the six-year-old was able to evade disaster and ran straight for the window, where his grandfather was able to rescue him.
“I’m just so glad I was able to get him out,” said Joe, occasionally glancing over his shoulder at his grandson. “At least he came to me. If he didn’t…”
Unfortunately for the family, a small Chihuahua by the name of Bruiser was last seen inside the house, although there is no clarification as to whether he was able to escape.
Firefighters received the call from a family member at 12:53 p.m., according to Fire Chief Carlos Melo of the Mountain View Fire District. Several units from various districts, including Turlock Rural, Westport Fire Department and the Patterson Fire Department were all in quick attendance, as well as Emergency Medical Technicians.
Although the building had quickly caught fire and was considered unsalvageable, the team was able to isolate the fire from adjacent brushes, trees and a neighboring structure, which was a primary concern for Melo.
The family was also fortunate enough to save one of their vehicles, located right next to the burning building. Together, they were able to drag a Pontiac out of harms away, although the keys for the vehicle were located inside the burning structure.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.