Two rescued from home fire

One suspect held on suspicion of arson

Two rescued from home fire 	By BRIAN COSNER, News Review Staff Writer

When law enforcement personnel responded to a fire Friday, they extracted two Ridgecrest residents from the blaze, one of whom was arrested on suspicion of arson.

According to press releases from California Highway Patrol and the Ridgecrest Police Department – on Friday, Aug. 30, RPD Officer John Gillett and CHP Officer Aaron Maurer were collaborating in a back-to-school bicycle safety event when they noticed smoke coming from a residential area just after 2 p.m.

The officers responded to the 100 block of West Wilson Avenue where they reportedly discovered a residence approximately half engulfed in flames with cries for help coming from inside and the front door locked. But with help from some civilian bystanders – Ridgecrest residents Matt Read and Joshua Pierce – officers managed to force entry into the home.

“Visibility was less than six inches,” said the release. “Despite the incredible, intense heat from large flames engulfing the room, both officers dropped to the floor and began crawling toward the cries for help.”

Officers reportedly found a 50-year-old wheelchair-bound male and tipped his chair over so he could get below the smoke to breath.

After cutting him from his large electric wheelchair, they dragged him to safety.

After learning there was a second person in the home, officers located 32-year-old Andrea Doss beside the residence on the ground before pulling her to safety as well.

Kern County firefighters knocked down the flames as Liberty Ambulance paramedics treated the victims.

After a preliminary investigation, officers placed Doss under arrest as an arson suspect because of the suspicious nature of the fire.

She was booked in the Bakersfield Central Receiving Facility, where she is facing charges of attempted murder and arson causing great bodily injury.

More details and hearing information were not available at press time.

Police Chief Jed McLaughlin thanked the officers and civilians for their heroic efforts.

“Due to their quick thinking and selfless actions, they were able to remove two subjects from imminent danger,” he said.

“And without this team effort, the victim would have perished in the fire.

Pictured: Heroes from last week’s fire are honored Thursday at the Ridgecrest Police Department. From left are California Highway Patrol Officer Aaron Maurer, RPD Officer John Gillett, citizens Matthew Read and Joshua Pierce and RPD Sgt. Aaron Tucker. Thanks to the swift actions of the group, two individuals — including a wheelchair-bound victim — were rescued from a burning home. — Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2019-09-06