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4 firefighters, 1 civilian injured at Indio house fire

Authorities investigating "suspicious" garage

Fire in Indio

INDIO, Calif. - UPDATE:

Four firefighters and one person were injured in a fire that broke out at a home in Indio Saturday afternoon. Neighbors say they heard an explosion and authorities are now investigating the "suspicious" scene inside. 

“All of a sudden I saw this big plume of smoke going up...my son went over there on his scooter and came back and said there’s a house on fire,” said James Duffy, a neighbor.  

Authorities say they're still unsure what caused the explosion neighbors described to News Channel 3.  

Ten engines, three medic units and two trucks were called to the usually quiet, gated neighborhood. “It’s absolutely surprising. We live in a neighborhood which is very nice,” said Homer Bhatt, another neighbor. 

Their street was shut down for hours. Firefighters were seen on the roof and cutting through the garage doors to battle the flames. 

“It was intense. I had never really seen anything like it. It smelled pretty bad," said Duffy's young daughter, Josie. 

We're told a man from the home and four firefighters were taken to a hospital with minor burns after entering the garage: "We did have a mayday call in by the firefighters that were trapped by the flash as they came into the garage. The fire just kind of flashed over them and so we activated an immediate rescue," said Captain Herrera. 

“That’s scary. Their job is to take care of fire and to protect us. When they get injured, that’s not good,” added Bhatt.  

A Sunline bus was brought in to help rehabilitate firefighters working in triple digits temperatures.

Authorities are investigating whether or not illegal activity was being conducted inside the home. "We did find some barrels and other things that are suspicious to us...and the way the construction was built inside the garage kind of reinforced with some air duct systems," said Herrera. 

Environmental hazmat was called to the scene as well as Animal Services. They say a few birds died in the fire and three dogs as well as a pet turtle are being treated for injuries. 

"We're trying to determine what was going on there, and what was this homeowner or property owner was doing," said Herrera. 

Cal Fire says everyone injured is expected to make a recovery. 

INITIAL REPORT: 

Two firefighters and one civilian were injured at a house fire in Indio Saturday afternoon.  According to Cal Fire they got a call just after 1 p.m. of a fire in the garage and attic of a home on the 83-000 block of Long Cove Drive in Indio.

“All of a sudden I saw this big plume of smoke going up...my son went over there on his scooter and came back and said there’s a house on fire," said James Duffy, a neighbor.

Firefighters were seen cutting through the home's garage door to extinguish the flames. “It was intense. I had never really seen anything like it. It smelled pretty bad and I didn’t really know what to do," said Duffy's young daughter, Josie. 

Cal Fire confirms that th three injured were treated on scene and taken to area hospitals with minor injuries.  The fire was contained just after 2:00 p.m. but firefighters will remain on scene for several more hours for clean up. 

We have a crew on scene and are told two PIO's are also headed to the scene, with some new information.  We will provide updates as we get them.  


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