SANTA ANA Fire destroyed a home for adults with disabilities Wednesday morning, leaving two women dead and four others injured.
The fire began at a home in the 2100 block of North Hathaway Street about 5:45 a.m. When firefighters arrived, several residents were trapped inside the home, which is licensed as an adult residential facility for people with physical and developmental disabilities.
By about 6 a.m., the fire was under control and firefighters had rescued four people who were injured. They were taken to Western Medical Center Santa Ana, a 71-year-old female caregiver in serious condition with burns and three residents with other injuries, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi. Two women, a 48-year-old and a 52-year-old, were pronounced dead at the scene, both found in bedrooms.
“When our firefighters arrived there was so much fire,” Concialdi said. “This is a tragic scene.”
According to the state’s Community Care Licensing Division, the address is known as Mary’s Home and licensed for the care of up to six people with developmental disabilities. Concialdi said the residents were all women in their 30s-50s.
The caregiver told officials that she was making breakfast when she heard a smoke alarm go off in another part of the home, Concialdi said.
Neighbors told firefighters who arrived on scene about the people inside, he added. With fire in the garage and inside the home, the approximately 50 firefighters who responded had to force their way into the home.
Neighbor Hugo Montes first smelled smoke as he went out to his van around 5:45 a.m. He went to the home, where a smoke alarm was sounding, and saw flames through a window. Inside, a mattress was on fire and the caregiver was trying to put it out with a blanket, he said. He looked for a hose and, not finding one, ran back to his house. When he returned, the home was fully engulfed in flames, he said. He could hear screams inside.
“This isn’t happening,” he said.
As fire investigators continued to work round 9 a.m., job coach Javier Burga of Westview Services arrived to pick up one of the residents for her regular program at the nonprofit adult day center. He said he had worked with the home for about a year and was in shock to see the aftermath of the fire.
“I don’t feel good,” he said.
By CLAUDIA KOERNER, ALYSSA DURANTY and SCOTT SCHWEBKE / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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