An elderly man died and a woman was injured after a San Bernardino house fire that may have been caused by a nearby hit-and-run on Sunday morning, according to authorities.
The San Bernardino City Fire Department received reports of a structure fire with victims trapped inside just after 2 a.m. in the 4900 block of Genevieve Lane (map), Kenny Yellen, with the department, said.
A woman in her late 80s evacuated the home, but was unable to help the man she lived with because he was too heavy for her to help outside, witness and neighbor Gregorio Monge said.
Monge attempted to extinguish the fire with a water hose after a loud explosion alerted him to the commotion outside his house, he said.
Although Monge tried to enter the home multiple times, thick smoke delayed his efforts.
“The third time… before I ran in I took off my thermal and wet it with the water hose and wrapped it around my face and ran back into the house,” Monge said. “That time I ran straight through and grabbed him by his arm and pulled him out of the house.”
The man died and the woman was taken to a hospital and treated for smoke inhalation and burns, Yellen said.
“I just wish I could have got to him a little sooner,” Monge said.
He did not sustain any serious injuries.
A crash multiple blocks away from the house may have caused the fire, according to the fire department.
A vehicle struck a pole near West 40th Street and Newmark Avenue (map) shortly before the fire, causing abound 250 homes and businesses to lose power.
The collision also may have led to a power surge in the couple’s home, overloading circuits, investigators said.
Local police had contacted the driver of the vehicle by 10 p.m., and no one had been taken into custody.
The cause of the fire was still being investigated, Yellen said.
Kacey Montoya contributed to this report.