COLUSA COUNTY (CBS13) — After a fiery blast killed a father working at a rice field in Colusa County, his young son ran more than four miles to get help.
After watching his father catch fire, a 7-year-old boy did what many people three times is age could never do: he ran more than four miles to get help.
“He cut right through the fields,” said Austin Young, who spoke to the boy. “He said, ‘I need help, my dad’s dead.”
Austin Young was in his backyard when out of the sunflower fields came someone he never expected.
“We saw this little kid come into the backyard. He was covered in mud head to toe,” said Austin.
With shoes that slowed him down in hand, the little boy relayed a story that Austin will likely never forget.
“He said his father was on fire and his dad was dead,” said Austin. “He was pretty much in shock. It hadn’t sunk in yet.”
Roberto Ayala was a foreman for a local agriculture company and had brought his son on a brief work stop to turn on an electrical irrigation pump at a rice field south of Colusa.
“There was an explosion and his father was on fire,” said Lt. Shane Maxey of the Colusa County Sheriff’s Dept.
A charred piece of earth shows where the tragedy took place. Ayala’s son ran as fast as he could through tall grass, ditches and sunflower fields.
“He’s pretty courageous. He said he tried to get the phone out and couldn’t find a phone,” said Austin. “He said he didn’t know what to do but run.”
Three agencies are investigating what caused the explosion. Even seasoned detectives were touched by the boy’s strength in the face of such a devastating loss.
“My heart goes out to the kid, you know,” said Lt. Shane Maxey of the Colusa County Sheriff’s Dept. “It’s a very tragic event, but had the presence of mind to find his way to get some help.”
The sheriff’s department says that sometime down the road they may consider giving the boy a commendation for his brave act.
Except for a few scratches, the boy wasn’t hurt.
The Colusa County Sheriff’s Department, Cal/OSHA and PG&E are all investigating the cause of Ayala’s death.