By JOE BOCANEGRA
Special to the NEWS
According to Assistant Operations Chief Michael Galvan of the San Benito Police Department, firefighters, police officers and EMS personnel responded to the scene, where neighbors and Housing Authority employees helped escort the home’s three occupants to safety.
The fire was caused, Galvan said, when fumes from a gallon can of contact cement used for installing Formica paneling ignited.
Police said the incident occurred when a male employee of the San Benito Housing Authority, who was already inside the home to replace the Formica paneling, reportedly tried to take the can outside and dropped it in the living room area, causing its contents to spark a fire.
The Housing employee, whose identity has yet to be revealed, was transported to Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen with third degree burns on his arms and second degree burns on his hands. The nature of his condition was not released as of presstime Friday.
The two other occupants of the home suffered from smoke inhalation but refused to be transported to the hospital, according to Galvan.
Although the majority of the fire was in the living room area, approximately 80 percent of the house suffered from smoke damage, the assistant chief added.
The case remains under investigation with the San Benito Fire Department.