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Mystery woman saved from blaze

A maintenance man burst through doors to help save a woman from a Grass Valley mobile home fire Wednesday, but officials and neighbors are unsure of who she was.

It appears the person saved was not Sierra Mobile Home Park homeowner Peggy Davis, according to neighbors and officials at the UC-Davis Burn Center in Sacramento, where the woman was eventually taken.

Grass Valley Fire Department Battalion Chief Tom Browning said the woman was 66 years old, but he did not have her name.



Park maintenance man Juan Maldonado was working on the roof of a home next door to Davis’ about 10:15 a.m. when he looked over and saw smoke pouring from her swamp cooler. Maldonado heard a woman screaming, ran to the home and knocked down the front door, but could not get to her due to the thick smoke.

“She was yelling ‘Where’s the door? Help!'” Maldonado said.




He then ran to a side door of the mobile home, kicked it in and located the woman in a rear bedroom. But her limp body was blocking the door, so Maldonado ran back outside to get a crow bar to pry it open.

Browning arrived on the scene and ran into the same problem Maldonado did.

“I couldn’t get her myself; she had fallen behind the door,” blocking entry to the back bedroom where the fire broke out, Browning said.

Just about that time, more Grass Valley firefighters arrived, Browning said. He ordered them into the home, “under full rescue mode,” without hoses. They managed to pry the door open and get her out, but she had burns on her face and was suffering from smoke inhalation.

“She was unconscious when we arrived,” Browning said. When emergency personnel brought the woman out and asked neighbors to identify her, they couldn’t.

“I said it didn’t look like the owner,” said Dee Mautino, indicating the woman she saw had a heavier build than Davis.

“Dee and some of the other women were by the ambulance and they said, ‘That’s not Peggy,'” said Dan Tribby, the mobile home park assistant manager.

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley confirmed that a woman was brought in from the fire scene and later flown by air ambulance to the UC-Davis Burn Center. But hospital personnel would not say who the woman was because of patient confidentiality laws.

The UC-Davis Burn Center staff would not say who was flown in from Grass Valley for treatment but said it was not Peggy Davis.

Browning said the cause was under investigation but it could have been electrical. A cord to a lamp in the room that was plugged in behind the bed got pinched, and Browning said that could have caused a short and the subsequent fire.

The back bedroom was severely damaged, but the rest of the home appeared intact. Browning said there was about $7,500 in damage to the mobile home on Candy Lane.

Neighbors were unsure where Davis was Friday afternoon. Mautino said she knew that Davis sometimes travels to Stockton.

At the same time, Browning and residents of the mobile home park were lauding Maldonado’s bravery.

“That young man saved her life,” Tribby said.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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