Victim of fire listed in good condition

APPEARED IN PRINT:  PAGE B1


PLEASANT HILL — A Pleasant Hill man, who ran through a “wall of fire” Monday morning to escape a three-alarm mobile home blaze, was listed in good condition Tuesday at a Portland hospital.

The fire erupted at 4 a.m. at the Bella Casa Mobile Home Park at 85691 Edenvale Road in Pleasant Hill. It destroyed three mobile homes, killed six pets and sent Dan Sallaz to the hospital with third-degree burns, according to his mother, Linda Wood.

She said Sallaz, 51, initially was transported to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, then transferred to the burn unit at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland on Monday about noon, his sister Julie Barrett said.

Wood, 74, said she was awakened Monday by loud popping noises, which she now thinks were the sound of her windows breaking. She walked in her living room to find flames coming out of the upper wall near the air conditioner by the end of the hall. Sallaz’s room was behind the wall, and Wood yelled to alert him to the fire, Barrett said.

“He goes to open the door, and there’s just this roaring inferno in front of him,” Barrett recounted from what her mother told her.

Barrett said her brother attempted to escape through a window but couldn’t fit. When he tried the door, the wall began to disintegrate in the flames, she said. “He had to just go for it,” Barrett said. “There was no turning back. He just ran through a wall of fire.”

Wood has another son, Larry Glass, who was camping behind her mobile home and ran up to attempt to help Sallaz exit the structure.

“She’s got one brother trying to go in the door and one brother trying to go out the door, and my mom is just standing there in between them,” Barrett said. “My mom was over there screaming, trying to get him to get out and all of a sudden he comes barreling through, all on fire.”

Barrett said that Sallaz was badly burned across his forehead, on his hands and on his scalp.

“His hair caught all on fire,” Wood said, adding that her son had blisters on his hands and wrists. “He’s lucky to be alive.”

“Hopefully, they’ll give him a buzz cut because that’s the only way he’s going to get through that mop of hair he’s got,” Barrett said. “It was just scorched. It was like he had a helmet on.”

Legacy spokesman Piseth Pich confirmed Tuesday that Sallaz is listed in good condition.

Steve Abel, the interim chief of the Goshen-Pleasant Hill Fire District, told The Register-Guard on Monday that the fire, which displaced seven people, most likely was caused by an electrical failure. Wood said Tuesday that fire officials told her the cause most likely was faulty wiring in her air conditioning unit, which was plugged into the wall.

Wood’s neighbor, who lived in another of the mobile homes that burned, called 911 at 4:02 a.m., Wood said. Fire units arrived about 15 minutes later, and Wood’s home already was half destroyed by fire, witnesses said.

Wood and another neighbor do not have homeowner’s insurance.

Firefighters from Dexter, Lowell, south Lane County, Eugene-Springfield, McKenzie and Coburg fire districts assisted crews from the Goshen-Pleasant Hill Fire District in putting out the fire. Their task was complicated because a lack of fire hydrants meant water had to be trucked to the scene, witness Roger Williams noted.

Wood and Sallaz also lost their pet dogs to the fire. Sallaz had a border collie, Doj, who was only a year old, and Wood had a terrier, Sasha, who was 9 years old.

Follow Rachel on Twitter @rachelrippetoe. Email rachel.rippetoe@registerguard.com.

This article was first published here

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