by Yasmeen Hassan

EL DORADO HILLS (CBS13) — A family of three barely escaped Sunday, as their El Dorado Hills home burned to the ground. The father was severely burned, as he rushed out into the street, begging for help.

“My god. He was burned all over. His body was burned all over,” neighbor Farooq Atebar said.

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Neighbors say George Napoleon barely made it out alive. The flames shot nearly 60 feet in the air.

Authorities say crews arrived at the home around at 4:15 a.m. to find flames reaching 50-60 feet high, and portions of the house collapsing.


“People are screaming, asking for help,” Atebar said.

Firefighters completely extinguished the fire and remained on scene throughout the day.

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According to the El Dorado Hills fire chief, there was an explosion so powerful, it blew the doors off the garage. People living blocks away say it was so intense, it shocked them awake.

“Something big dropped on the house or a big noise like a bomb,” Atebar said.

Napoleon’s wife and baby were able to get out of the house unharmed, but neighbors say he had burns covering 80% of his body and he couldn’t wait for paramedics to arrive.

“Running and screaming for help. ‘Please take me to hospital.’ And I asked him, should we call the ambulance? He said, ‘No, I’m dying. Don’t wait,’” Atebar said.

So while the flames were still raging, Napoleon’s neighbor didn’t wait, rushing him and his family to get the help they needed.

“I put my hazard light on and as fast as I could drive, I drove. A human being is calling for help. I expect any other person to do the same thing for me or to my family. I just wanted to save them,” Atebar said.

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The fire chief said it is still early in the investigation. They don’t know what started the fire, but to have a blast or explosion is not uncommon in a fire. There could have been a propane tank or natural gas near the house. It’s just too soon to tell.