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Witness: Explosion Appeared To Cause Deadly San Jose Mobile Home Fire

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A relative visiting the next-door neighbor of the mobile home that caught on fire Tuesday said an explosion appeared to spark the midday inferno that killed three people, including two children.

10-year-old Linda Van, nine-year-old Uyen Tran, and Van's grandfather were killed in the fire that quickly swept through and destroyed the mobile home.

San Jose mobile home fire
A firefighter pours water on the remnants of a mobile home destroyed by fire at the Golden Wheel Park in San Jose, August 15, 2017. (San Jose Fire Dept.)

A witnesss, Diep Vo, was in the mobile home to the south of the trailer that caught on fire at the Golden Wheel Mobile Home Park at 900 Golden Wheel Park Drive, and was cooking when an explosion rocked the normally quiet neighborhood.

Vo was able to hear the explosion and see the subsequent fire from her position in the adjacent mobile home. She said—via her nephew who translated—that the grandfather of the two children in the mobile home opened the front door, walked outside engulfed in flames, and collapsed.

Shocked by the explosion, she said she was frozen in place watching the fire unfold until a neighbor from next door banged on her front door and told her to escape. She said she ran south towards the main office of the trailer park complex.

Another neighbor, Phouc Mai, said neighbors came together to spray water on the mobile home to the north of the fire. He felt if they hadn't done that, it could have gone up in flames as well.

Mai estimated that fire crews arrived on the scene 10 minutes after the initial blaze started.

A woman who said she was one of the daughters of the man who passed away at the scene was there this afternoon, but declined to discuss the fire.

San Jose fire spokesman Joshua Padron said as of late this afternoon, there were no updates on the status of the investigation.

Fire officials confirmed Tuesday that three people died in the blaze. San Jose Fire Capt. Mike Van Elgort said that mobile homes tend to burn faster and more aggressively because of their lightweight construction.

"It's a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the family for their loss," Van Elgort said. "This is tough to handle for the fire department as well."

Van Elgort said mobile home residents are encouraged to always be very careful when cooking and to make sure they have working smoke detectors.

In the event of a fire, he said residents should immediately evacuate the home instead of trying to put out the blaze.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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