An elderly man suffered first- and second-degree burns over 30% to 40% of his body after his small Calwa home caught fire around 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Fresno Fire Department spokesman Pete Martinez said the man — who was not named — was being treated at Community Regional Medical Center. Martinez said the man, believed to be in his 70s with medical issues, was found unconscious on the couch in his home on the 4000 block of East Church Avenue.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but Martinez said the gas can of a weed-cutting machine inside the home may have ignited a “flash fire.”
Martinez said 15 firefighters got the blaze quickly under control and arrived within four minutes.
Martinez said firefighters have responded to the home multiple times for calls requesting medical assistance. Martinez said the man used a walker to get around and had an oxygen tank. He was the only person found inside the home when firefighters arrived.
Neighbor Susan Bustamante said the man recently had a stroke. He has a home care provider, she said, but that person wasn’t present when the fire started in his kitchen.
Bustamante said she was planning to check on him shortly before the fire started.
“I feel so awful, I feel so bad,” she said through tears. “He barely walks.”
Two young girls riding their bicycles near the burned home also shared their concern.
“We got scared so we are going to pray” for the injured man, said 9-year-old Lesly Ayala.
Martinez said the man was burned primarily on his face and hands and that he may have burn injuries to his lungs.
A majority of the inside of his small home was burned or had smoke damage.