Folsom/El Dorado News

El Dorado Hills man burned in explosive house fire dies, donations continue for family

A fire on Arches Avenue in El Dorado Hills destroyed a home and left one person with burn injuries Sunday morning, fire officials said.
A fire on Arches Avenue in El Dorado Hills destroyed a home and left one person with burn injuries Sunday morning, fire officials said.

An El Dorado Hills man severely burned Sunday morning after a house fire and explosion destroyed his home died Thursday at a local hospital, a family friend announced via social media.

The man, identified by neighbors and family friends as George Napoleon, had been hospitalized with “critical burn injuries” in a house fire first reported about 4:15 a.m. Sunday on Arches Avenue, El Dorado Hills Fire Department Chief Maurice Johnson told The Sacramento Bee on Monday. The victim’s wife and 6-month-old child escaped unharmed, Johnson said.

A community Facebook page called “Support for the Napoleon family” was created the same day of the fire by Maryam Gol, who says she and George’s wife, Judith Napoleon, are emergency room nurses at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento.

Gol, who has used the page to coordinate donation efforts and provide status updates on Judith’s behalf, announced late Thursday that George Napoleon had passed away at the hospital that morning.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce George Napoleons’ passing this morning,” Gol wrote. “He fought hard, but the injuries to his body were just too severe. Please continue to pray for the family as spiritual support provides much needed comfort.”

Gol had written Sunday afternoon that George Napoleon was in critical condition at UC Davis Medical Center’s intensive care unit with burns to 80 percent of his body. Johnson, the fire chief, had said Monday that it would be “a long, long road” to recovery.

Community members and neighbors rallied quickly with financial and non-financial support to the Napoleon family, sending them home-cooked meals and donating gift cards and money through Venmo.

Friends of George Napoleon posted photos of him cycling to the public Facebook page, noting he was an avid bicyclist.

Johnson said a “very obvious explosion” at the house left a field of debris in and across the street. While the official cause of the fire and explosion remain under investigation, Johnson said a blast of that magnitude is often a natural gas or propane explosion.

The house fire sent flames 50 to 60 feet in the air, Johnson said, and took crews about 45 minutes to extinguish as they worked a defensive attack – committing no resources to the interior of the structure because the fire was too advanced. The roughly 3,500-square-foot home was almost completely leveled, photos show.

If you have a fire in your home, the advice is simple, according to Sacramento Fire Department: Get out, stay out, call 911. Don’t try to put the fire out yourself. And never go back into a building on fire. Have a plan and practice with your family.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.