In a harrowing incident in Temecula, California, a car careened off the 15 Freeway, crashing into a two-story home on Fifth Street early Thursday morning. The calamity unfolded at approximately 2:48 a.m. local time, as per statements from the CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department. The violent impact resulted in the residence swiftly becoming fully engulfed in flames.
Local NBC affiliate KNBC-TV reported that the vehicle’s deviation from the freeway jolted the sleeping family inside the home. William Rindone, a resident, recounted his initial shock, noting the sight of “smoke and dirt flying up.” The unmistakable odor of gas prompted swift action as the family evacuated the premises. Angel Vega, another family member, described the chaotic scene, emphasizing the urgency of getting his grandmother to safety amidst the encroaching flames.
Firefighters battled the blaze, managing to contain it by just after 4:15 a.m. The American Red Cross is now providing assistance to the displaced residents. Thankfully, no severe injuries were reported, although a family cat tragically perished in the inferno.
The consequences of the crash extended beyond the immediate danger, as a significant portion of the home was destroyed along with a baseball memorabilia collection valued at approximately $1 million and three cars. Remarkably, this marks the fourth occasion a vehicle has careened off the freeway onto the family’s property. Urgent pleas for authorities to install a guardrail to protect nearby homes remain unaddressed.
Two individuals were inside the car during the crash, but the circumstances leading to the incident and potential charges against the driver remain unclear. The family, grappling with the aftermath, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to rebuild their lives. The campaign, initiated by a concerned loved one, has garnered over $3,000 in support as of Friday afternoon.
The resilience of the affected family is evident in Vega’s sentiments: “We’ve just got to move on, pick ourselves up and carry on as a family.” As investigations into the crash continue, the community rallies to support those grappling with the sudden and traumatic loss caused by this devastating incident.