Good Samaritans share details after pulling burn victim from pair of explosive Menifee trailer fires

MENIFEE, Calif., — Authorities say a man was hospitalized after an explosive fire ripped through a pair of travel trailers in Menifee on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 15. No other structures were lost as a result of the destructive blaze, which happened at a large and rural property in the 29800 block of Sharon Way, between Mira Street and Briggs Road, according to officials.

Witnesses have said the victim, who was burned “real bad”, was pulled to safety from the burning trailers by a pair of good Samaritans who then helped firefighters extinguish the blaze with garden hoses.


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Cal Fire – Riverside and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene around 3:32 p.m. after multiple people called 911 to report a large fire with a pair of explosions heard in the area, according to witnesses and a Cal Fire social media release.

When officials arrived, they reported finding two travel trailers fully engulfed in flames with citizens already attempting to quell the fire with garden hoses and began an immediate attack to extinguish the blaze.

“(We) heard a massive explosion and Chase Borninkhof and I were off to the rescue,” Brett Heuer said after the two men raced to help a man who Heuer said was “burnt real bad” in the blaze. Brett Heuer photos 1 and 2, Dani Katz photo 2

Although their efforts were hampered by at least one propane tank that was continuing to feed the flames, they managed a quick knockdown before the blaze could spread to other nearby trailers, RVs, and structures.

The man injured in the fire was treated at the scene for his injuries before being transported to an area hospital for further treatment, according to Cal Fire.

As word of the blaze spread, area residents Cathy Pawlicki-King and Dani Katz shared what they had seen and heard, with Pawlicki-King saying the explosion, which firefighters later said was caused by a propane tank, “rocked” her house.

King, who took a photo of a huge plume of black smoke rising into the sky after the explosion added, “Ours as well! That’s why I ran outside and called 911.”

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RCNS has since learned the identities of the two good Samaritans who helped the burn victim as Brett Heuer and Chase Borninkhof.

“(We) heard a massive explosion and Chase and I were off to the rescue,” Heuer said after the blaze.

“One guy got blown up from water heater or propane tank explosion,” the good Samaritan continued; adding, “He was burnt real bad.”

Cal Fire is continuing to investigate the cause of the fire and no further details have been released.

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Trevor Montgomery, 50, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.