NORTH FORK — A family in the Bass Lake Mobile Home park lost everything, including some of their pets, in a fire that destroyed their mobile home last night.
Just after 10 p.m. on Friday, a couple and their four children were settling in for the night when a neighbor saw smoke and ran to the house, shouting at them to get out, according to one witness.
Tahsha Goldberg and her family scrambled to get out of the home, and she grabbed her son off the bed where he was sleeping, just as it burst into flames.
“They escaped with only the clothes on their backs, not even shoes to wear,” said Debra Wentz, who lives in the unit just below them. “I could hear the screams of the family as I ran outside to look to see what was wrong.”
Several residents in the park called 911, and Madera County Fire Engine 11 was first at scene, followed by Cal Fire Bass Lake Engine 4255 and Water Tender 11. The home was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived.
Cal Fire Rancheria Engine 4255 had already been called out to a fatal crash on Highway 41 to set up a landing zone at Minarets High School for SkyLife One air ambulance. They were diverted back to the North Fork fire, and Cal Fire Engine 4294 out of Ahwahnee and Engine 4262 from Usona were also dispatched to the scene.
One witness reported seeing the power pole next to the house burning, but firefighters kept the fire from spreading to nearby homes or into the vegetation.
Sarah Rah, who manages the park, came to the scene and took the children to her house to be cared for and given something warm to wear.
Incident Commander Mike Niewohner said the family had a place to stay for the night, and Red Cross will be called to provide any assistance the family will need.
It appeared that at least one dog perished in the fire, though the family could not be sure if their other pets, including their cats, ran out of the house in time to escape the smoke and flames. But just as the fire was moving into mop-up stage, a firefighter found one wet and frightened little kitten near the house and delivered it safe and sound to the family.
Tahsha was understandably shaken and was evaluated by Sierra Ambulance personnel, but she declined to be transported for further treatment.
Flames were reportedly seen near the water heater as the fire began to spread, but the cause remains under investigation.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family move into a new home. Click here to contribute.