Mendocino Sheriff Releases Information on New Year’s Day Fire in Willits
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office press release:
On 01-01-2016 at approximately 9:37 AM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to conduct a coroner’s investigation into the death of a two year-old male in the 22000 block of Eastside Road in Willits, California.
Fire and medical personnel were already at the location when the Deputies arrived. A total of three structures and two vehicles had been damaged by a fire at the location.
A recreational vehicle (RV) which had served as a family home was completely destroyed during the fire.
Deputies were told that the family’s mother stepped out of the RV briefly while her sons, ages two and fourteen months, slept inside the RV with their father.
The father exited the RV a short time later, telling the mother the inside of the RV was on fire.
Both parents entered the RV to retrieve their children and were able to rescue their youngest son but were driven back by the heat of the rapidly growing fire and were not able to rescue their two year-old son. The two year-old son was later found deceased inside the RV.
The fourteen month-old son suffered burns over approximately 40 percent of his body and was flown by air ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center.
Both parents suffered burn injuries in the rescue of the one child and the attempted rescue of the other child.
The father was treated for significant burn injuries at Frank Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits and the mother suffered less severe burn injuries.
The initial investigation suggests a propane space heater may have been the cause of the fire but the official determination is pending as the investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing at this time.
Names of the involved persons are not being released at this time as the investigation is ongoing and the Coroner as yet to positively confirm the identity of the two year-old child reported to have died during the fire.
Earlier Chapter: One Dead, Multiple Burn Patients at Willits Structure Fire