A car veered off the 15 Freeway and crashed into a home in Temecula, causing a massive explosion early Thursday.
Siblings Gaby Rivera and Angel Vega were two of eight people inside the home when the crash occurred around 2:45 a.m.
“All of a sudden, I heard screeching,” Angel told KTLA’s Rick Chambers. “Then the next you thing know, a loud crash and bang.”
He said the car hit the gas line and the fuse box. Within a matter of seconds, they started seeing the flames.
“It was scary. I’m trying to run my grandma out and the flames are right next to us,” Angel explained. “It was definitely very traumatic.”
Unfortunately, the fire spread rapidly, and the family only escaped with what they could grab on the way to their front door. The family’s dogs made it out okay, but their cat, Stevie, did not survive.
“She was too scared to come out,” Gaby said. “She was hiding under everything, and the fire just kept getting worse and worse and we just didn’t have enough time to save her.”
Even with the loss of their beloved cat, Angel said he was grateful that everyone else made it out safely.
“It’s a miracle, really,” he said.
It’s not even the first time that a car from the 15 Freeway, which is behind their home, has dropped in unexpectedly. The family said several cars have ended up in their backyard.
“The most recent was probably two or three years ago, but nothing like this,” Angel said.
There were two men inside the vehicle and so far, there’s been no arrests made or any explanation of why the crash happened.
The family, however, is left devastated after living in the home for more than 25 years. They have now lost everything, including tens of thousands of dollars in sports memorabilia.
“This is something that my family has worked hard for and just to see it all burnt down to ashes is just insane,” Gaby said.
“It’s gone. There’s nothing I can do about it,” Angel said. “We’ve just got to move on, pick ourselves up and carry on as a family.”
The family says they’ve asked authorities to do something about the nearby freeway, to put a guardrail or something else in to protect the nearby homes, but nothing has been done over the years.
For the time being, the Red Cross is providing the family with shelter. A GoFundMe campaign has been organized to help them recover for those who wish to donate.