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Gonzales Fire Department releases timeline of house fire that resulted in one death

Courtesy: Isaias Olivarez

UPDATE 7/5/23 4:42 p.m.- Gonzales Firefighters have released an initial timeline for a house fire call on the 4th of July that resulted in the death of a 70 year-old-woman.

According to the fire department:

  • 11:06 p.m., the Gonzales Fire Department and Engines from mutual aid partners were dispatched to a reported structure fire at 496 Charolais Drive in the City of Gonzales. 
  • 11:11 p.m. the first engine arrives on the scene and sees a "fully developed fire encompassing more than fifty percent of the main residence, as well as the total involvement of several additional structures located on the property. "
  • 11:13 p.m. bystanders told fire crews that there was a possibility that someone may be trapped at the rear of the home and crews immediately searched the area for bystanders.
  • They located a deceased victim "in an auxiliary structure attached to the main residence." Following guidelines for fire fatalities, fire crews did not attempt to remove the deceased person from the structure and focused on extinguishing the fire.

A total of 22 firefighters responded to the fire and crews declared the fire under control at 1:24 a.m.

Gonzales Fire said they remained on the scene until 4:33 a.m. while performing salvage and overhaul operations and extinguishing hot spots.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and is a joint case with CAL FIRE and Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). The death of 70 -year-old Maria Guadalupe Valdez is being investigated by the Monterey County Sherriff's Office.

One person dead in Gonzales house fire, victim identified

UPDATE 7/5/23 4:42 p.m.- Gonzales Police confirmed Wednesday morning one person died in a house fire on the 400 block of Charolais Drive.

Gonzales Police said officers responded to a residential structure fire and the home was fully engulfed in flames. Police said five family members were home at the time of the fire.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office and family have identified the woman who passed as Maria Guadalupe Valdez, 70, of Gonzales.

An arson investigator with CAL FIRE is helping with the investigation. Gonzales Police are working to figure out if illegal fireworks caused the fire. But several aerial fireworks were seen in the area at the time.

Firefighters from the Gonzales Fire Department, Monterey County Regional Fire, Salinas Fire, and Correctional Training Facility were also on the scene to help.

This is an active investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Gonzales Police Department at (831) 675-5010 or the non-emergency line at (831 )755-5111.

A gofundme has been made to help the family you can find that, here.

Firefighters investigating house fire in Gonzales neighborhood

GONZALES, Calif. (KION-TV)- Investigators are trying to figure out what sparked a house fire on Charolais Drive late Tuesday night.

Flames could be seen coming through the roof as smoke spilled out. Multiple agencies were on scene to help put the fire out and keep people away from the incident.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Karl Cooke, KION
Article Topic Follows: News

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