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Fire Erupts When Alleged DUI Driver Slams Into Temecula Home

Six residents were displaced due to the incident that was reported at 4:57 a.m. Monday in the 43200 block of Corte Almonte in Temecula. The driver has been arrested on suspicion of DUI.

The scene in the 43200 block of Corte Almonte in Temecula, Oct. 21, 2013. (Photo by Freida Hall)
The scene in the 43200 block of Corte Almonte in Temecula, Oct. 21, 2013. (Photo by Freida Hall)

This article was originally posted at 10:55 a.m. Oct. 21 and updated at 11:15 a.m. with arrest information.

A suspected DUI driver slammed his Ford Mustang into a Temecula home early Monday resulting in a fire and gas leak, authorities said.

Six residents were displaced due to the incident that was reported at 4:57 a.m. Monday in the 43200 block of Corte Almonte in Temecula, according to Melody Hendrickson, a spokeswoman for CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department.

Crews arrived to find flames coming from the single story, single family home that the car had lodged into, severing its gas meter, Hendrickson wrote in an incident report.

“Quick and aggressive firefighter action contained the fire to the residence at approximately 5:29 a.m.,” Hendrickson wrote, noting that exterior eaves of a neighboring home were also scorched.

The driver of the Mustang, Gerardo Fierro, 20, of Temecula, was transported to a local hospital for minor injuries and was ultimately arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, according to Temecula police Sgt. Dean Spivacke.

"The fire consumed the garage of the residence and a vehicle in the garage as well as the Mustang," Spivacke stated in a news release.

There were no reports of other injuries but American Red Cross was called to assist three adults and three children who were displaced. Residents of both affected homes were indoors at the time of the collision, Spivacke said.

Southern California Gas Company responded to shut down the gas line and undertake what were described as “extensive repairs” when it was discovered that the home’s underground gas meter had been snapped off.

Southern California Edison was also on scene.

“Commitment time for units on scene will be several hours,” Hendrickson wrote, noting that five engine crews carrying 20 firefighters had initially responded.

A neighbor, Freida Hall, sent photos from the scene. She described a "horrible gas smell."

The family has two small daughters, she said.

"The 5-year-old said to me, 'There's a hole in the wall of my playroom.'"



Alek J Hidell October 22, 2013 at 10:40 AM
not typical to hit the gas line that hard. These tract houses have a cement filled pipe sunk into the slab to protect the gas heater lines and he STILL knocked it down. Seriously a banzai suicide effort to get home and into bed....Bravo!
Chester October 22, 2013 at 10:44 AM
I think we found out Brenda's last name, Newman
CommCare October 22, 2013 at 12:34 PM
The gas meters on these houses are exactly where the car hit. They are also old enough that they would sheer off quite easily. There is no protection from such an even like the lines inside the garage for the furnace and water heater.... maybe a good reason the plant a tree.
Steve Newman October 22, 2013 at 02:18 PM
No chester- wrong again.

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