Thermal, Calif. - A home fire that started early this morning in thermal has left several people without a home.
Officials responding to the fire categorized the flames as a fourth alarm structure fire.
News 11 has details on how the fire started.
“I have a little fire pit in the front to keep my hands warm in the morning and I went in to make a cup of coffee, the tea pot whistled so I went in to pour the hot water into the cup, and cup right back out. That’s how long I was gone, poured the hot water in the cup and walked back out. As I was walking out I could hear the crackling of the fire,” said Edward Alfonso who lost his home in the fire.
Alfonso quickly grabbed his hose to try and battle the flames as he yelled out for help and to alert his neighbors to wake up because it was 6:30 in the morning.
“The fire just got too intense for me to fight, I just kept squirting water on it, then the hose caught on fire and then I couldn't help anymore,” explained Alfonso
“When they arrived on scene the initial residence was on fire as well as some of the exposing residences next door,” said Tony Rouhotas, Fire Chief with Imperial County Fire.
A total of three structures were completely burned on two separate properties on the 3000 block of Thermal Drive.
Luckily, everyone was able to get out of their homes in time.
“The challenge was pretty big to make sure the fire was contained to the properties involved and didn't spread beyond that,” added Rouhotas.
Alfonso, who is now without a home has concerns about fire official’s response time.
“Not really happy with the fire department, I didn't think they did a great job, I think they could've responded a lot better, and it even took Red Cross like an hour and half to get here,” said Alfonso.
“Winds were blowing about 15 miles per hour that was a contributing factor. They initiated and additional alarm assignment for request. Request were made and additional units from imperial county did respond to Salton Sea Beach to help distinguish the fire,” said Rouhotas.
Fire officials are still investigating the exact cause of the fire, even though they have an idea of how it started.
The American Red Cross is assisting the people who are left without a home or can home back inside because of damage.