Palm Springs fire displaces terminally ill Vietnam veteran

Two family dogs died in the flames

Palm Springs fire displaces...

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Emergency crews were called to a large house fire in Palm Springs Wednesday afternoon. The fire ignited at a home on Palm Avenue, located near El Cielo Road and Sunny Dunes Road. Authorities said the fire swept through the property. The fire left two cars, a trailer and the home a total loss. Two family dogs were also killed.


It took 25 firefighters about an hour to douse the flames.

"My uncle said that he started hearing popping sounds out of the backyard. He saw flames and the first thing he did was run to the back of the house, got my dad and brought him out. Thankfully they are OK," daughter of homeowner, Holly Spiewak, said.

"When we first started fighting the fire we had power lines down, that had burned down prior to arrival. Crew had to be very careful on scene because of those fire lines," Palm Springs Fire Chief Kevin Nalder said.

Spiewak said her father, 69-year-old Mike Salazar, a Vietnam veteran, was inside when the fire started. She said he would not have been able to get out by himself because of his deteriorating condition. He has liver and stomach cancer.

"We as a family had to make this hard decision to put my dad on hospice (Wednesday) because he doesn't have very long to live and now everything my dad knows is gone. Everything. Even the hospice equipment is gone," Spiewak said.

Spiewak said her family's motorcycles were also lost in the fire.sot: 01:01:41;03

"My mom is devastated because not only is she caring for her terminally ill husband, She's caring for her 13-year-old granddaughter and the house and the insurances," Spiewak said.

Spiewak said her parents have homeowner's insurance to hopefully recover what they've lost.

"My mom and my dad, my niece -- they have nothing right now, absolutely nothing. Whatever we can pull out, valuables, pictures... that's all that was left," Spiewak said.

Only two people were inside when the fire started. Both made it out of the home unharmed. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation. In the meantime, family members have created a gofundme page to collect money for clothing and necessary expenses.

Clothing donations for the family can be dropped off at Desert Chapel Church in Palm Springs.

KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 will deliver updated details as the investigation continues. 


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