PROSSER – 10-year-old Jesus and his 7-year old sister Heidy Joanna Gonzalez Bautista passed away from their injuries following a fast burning mobile home fire early Thursday morning of July 25.
According to West Benton Fire and Rescue Chief Seth Johnson, the local fire department received a 911 dispatched call at 5:53 a.m. and his crew was on site at 835 Higdon Road, which is sited outside the city limits in “just under 10 minutes.”
Chief Johnson stated the manufactured home was “fully engulfed” upon arrival. The crew made entry into the secured home in “less than seven minutes,” where they found the two children unresponsive.
His crew “diverted quickly from firefighting to life saving efforts,” according to Johnson, and children were rapidly moved to the waiting Prosser Ambulance.
Johnson stated the children’s parents work in agriculture and had left for work, approximately two hours prior to the fire.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Department (BCSD) is the lead agency for fire cause investigation and assistance to the family.
Officials report the likely cause of the fire was an overburdened circuit carrying the air conditioner load. The fire started on the porch where the air conditioner was plugged in.
The BCSD released a statement affirming the Red Cross of Tri-Cities is helping the parents with housing and other financial and emotional assistance.
Chief Johnson said the “huge outpouring of offers of assistance” have come into the WBFR office since the news of the fire’s damage became public.