Firefighter loses his family in house fire while he was away on duty

Firefighter Raul Garcia-Santos lost his wife and three children in a house fire accident while he was battling a wildfire blaze 200 miles away.

  • The fatal fire occurred in Benton City, Washington on August 27 at around 1 a.m.
  • Raul Garcia-Santos lost his wife, Marcaria Garcia-Martinez and his children, Luz Garcia-Martinez, 17, Luis Garcia-Martinez, 15, and Michelle Garcia-Martinez, 6. 
  • The night of the fire was the first night at their new home. 
Source: Daily Mail

Having moved to the area the previous afternoon, the family was spending their first night in their new home.

The family had just moved into their single-wide trailer in Benton City, Washington on August 26. Just before 1 a.m. on August 27, the property had become engulfed by flames. The cause of the fire was determined to be an overloaded electrical circuit, according to CNN. The blaze resulted in the death of Marcaria Garcia-Martinez, Luz Garcia-Martinez, Luis Garcia-Martinez, and Michelle Garcia-Martinez. The victims were the wife and children of Raul Garcia-Santos, a firefighter who had been 200 miles away in Okanogan County battling the Palmer Fire.

Marcaria Garcia-Martinez, Luis Garcia-Martinez, Luz Garcia-Martinez and Michelle Garcia-Martinez (Source: Daily Mail)

Ron Duncan, chief of Benton County Fire Protection District 2 spoke to CNN.

Duncan explained that ‘the radiant heat from the fire was so intense that a nearby trailer also caught fire, but deputies were able to rescue the residents of that home’. Furthermore, the firefighters had found the bodies of the four victims while searching the trailer after they had put out the fire. William Leach, Benton County Coroner told CNN that the autopsy revealed that the family members had died from asphyxia due to smoke inhalation.

CNN reported that the family’s trailer did not have smoke detectors. 

According to Duncan, the family’s home was not equipped with working smoke detectors although the Benton County Fire Protection has programs that provide them for free. What is more, Duncan commented on how vital it is to have them installed in every home as he said that this fire is a very sad case which ‘reiterates the fact that smoke detectors save lives’.

A GoFundMe has been created on behalf of Raul Garcia-Santos and since August 27 over $35,000 have been donated to cover the funeral expenses. 

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